Perfect timing as Ayala deal moves nearer to conclusion
Dani Ayala's imminent arrival this week could not be better timed, according to Paul Lambert.
The young Spanish defender was at the DW Stadium to watch his prospective new employers draw 1-1 against Wigan after undergoing a medical on Friday ahead of completing his move from Anfield.
City confirmed on Saturday evening the two clubs had agreed an undisclosed fee for the 20-year-old, subject to the relevant paperwork being finalised.
Lambert went into the new Premier League season without experienced centre back Elliott Ward after the former Coventry and West Ham defender picked up an ankle injury during the club's pre-season German training camp.
Zak Whitbread was also forced off during the final quarter of City's opening day draw at Wigan with a knee problem.
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The American was replaced by Leon Barnett, who only returned to full training during the summer having missed the second half of last season with a hamstring injury.
Whitbread's fitness will now be monitored by City's medical staff this week – but prior to confirmation of the pending Ayala deal, Lambert admitted he was delighted to add another ex-Red to his defensive ranks.
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'Hopefully we are just about there and it will go through. The last I heard everything seemed to be on course,' said Lambert.
'Daniel will be a welcome addition and we need as many bodies as we can for what will be a hard, hard season. You never stop looking but I won't bring someone in for the sake of bringing them in.'
Lambert was impressed with Ayala after the Spaniard featured against the Canaries last season during loan spells at Hull and Derby.
'He is a young player – I saw him play against us so I know what he can offer us. He is a tall lad that will go and defend,' he said. 'It just shows with Elliott out and Zak having a problem then you're back down to three centre-halves if Daniel comes. Zak took a knock on his knee and we'll just have to see how he is.'