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Championship side Norwich City have now signed centre-back Grant Hanley from Newcastle on a 4-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
The Scottish international defender has not played in any of the Toon’s Premier League games this season despite the team’s injury worries and, along with several other players who have been informed of their fate, he does not seem to be in Rafa Benitez’s plans at all going forward.
Norwich and Newcastle were discussing both permanent and loan options for Hanley though now that a permanent transfer has been made, it is better for all parties involved. The player himself is well aware that he needs regular football and a loan stint at this stage of his career would have done little for his future international chances.
Hanley has been with the Scotland squad in recent days, preparing for this weekend’s World Cup Qualifier against Lithuania. However, he was given permission by the hierarchy to leave the camp and complete his medical in Norfolk ahead of the move.
The 25-year-old from Dumfries joined Newcastle last summer from Blackburn and things didn’t quite hit the peak for him at SJP.
Hanley could prove to be a godsend for the Canaries as their own summer revamp has not gone the way fans would have hoped as it would. Minimal money has been spent on the likes of Marce Franke, James Husband and Mario Vrancic while players of the calibre of Jacob Murphy (Newcastle), Graham Dorrans (Rangers) and Jonny Howson (Boro) have been allowed to leave.
That business represents a real slide for Norwich, who, despite their Premier League past, have shown before that they are a club vulnerable to relegation to the third tier. With their defence further weakened by the losses of Steven Whittaker and John Ruddy, this signing could prove to be absolutely crucial.
Despite his young age for a centre-half and the fact that he had to battle hard for game time last season at title winning Newcastle, Hanley has played fully 151 times in this division and certainly knows his way around it. He has just enough strength, speed and height to cope with varying Championship attacks and can earn his fee.
The most simple point to make regarding this deal is that Grant Hanley is simply better than what Norwich City have relied on in this position so far this season – a good move finally.