5th Dec, 2016

'Aggressive' tactics helped Norwich City land Sky Blues youngster James Maddison

Steve Carpenter 22nd Feb, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

NORWICH City boss Alex Neil has hinted that highly-rated midfielder James Maddison was his second choice signing on transfer deadline.

The 19-year-old signed for the Premier Leagues strugglers for an undisclosed fee in the final minutes of deadline day on February 1.

Academy graduate Maddison had been a target for the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, but the Sky Blues accepted an offer believed to be in the region of £2.5million, which the Observer understands could rise to £9million with clauses.

And Neil, who has been charge at Carrow Road for just over a year, believes his aggressive tactics helped steer off other interest from a host of Premier League clubs.

“We went after him aggressively,” Neil told the Eastern Daily Press. “I think the fact we left it so late in the window certainly played into our favour.

“If we had gone earlier we would have most likely lost him to a bigger team. I know there was one team in particular who were aggressively trying to not stop the deal but hi-jack it and we managed to get it across the line.

“We were pursuing another signing that night and we had money available for it. Unfortunately for us it didn’t transpire.

“Once that other move didn’t go through we had money we wanted to put to good use and he was the one we highlighted.”

Maddison will remain at the Ricoh Arena on loan until the end of the 2015/16 season as part of the deal as he bids to end his City career on a high be securing promotion to the Championship.

And Neil believes Norwich have landed one of the brightest young English prospects in the country.

He added: “We said and thought all along if we could add some more youth to the ranks for the club going forward then we wanted to highlight the best young players in the country, and he is certainly one who fell into that category.

“The bottom line is if he is ready and good enough it doesn’t matter what age he is.

“He just has to be better or as good as the lads already here. There is no point in introducing young players if they are not as good. Physically, we need to do some work with him initially but there is no question about his talent.”