City's England Under-21 keeper Joe Lewis has finally completed his ?400,000 switch to League Two high-fliers Peterborough United in a deal which has smashed Posh's transfer record.
The Broome-born youngster has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal at London Road and goes straight into the squad for their clash with Macclesfield Town this weekend.
It is also understood that City have requested a sell-on clause in the agreement and the fee could rise to as much as ?700,000 if Posh climb the leagues.
Lewis had spent the weekend mulling over the move after the Cambridgeshire club's bid was accepted last week and after a heart to heart with his Norfolk-based family, he has decided to make the permanent switch down the A47 in a bid to boost his budding England hopes.
On one hand, it was a deal Norwich boss Glenn Roeder couldn't turn down ? with current custodian David Marshall looking like a long-term Canary No 1 in the mould of Robert Green and deputy Matthew Gilks now well on the road to recovery after his ankle injury.
To have nearly half a million pounds worth of asset sitting in the reserves just doesn't make business sense. But there will be a genuine sadness to witness the exit of a home-grown talent who is tipped for the top.
After all, he has not even made a first-team appearance at Carrow Road but 27 impressive showings whilst on loan at Stockport and this season for Morecambe were good enough to persuade Stuart Pearce to grant him a national team call-up for the Under-21 clash with Montenegro in September.
Lewis, a product of the Norwich City Academy, has been involved in and around the first-team squad for a good while and took his place on the bench against Coventry aged just 15.
However, the boyhood Canary fan has always found his path blocked with the likes of Green and now Marshall standing in his way and with Lewis now at a crucial crossroads in his career, the 20-year-old clearly needs first-team football.
“With a young and talented keeper in the shape of David Marshall currently in goal and Matthew Gilks on his way back from injury, Joe's opportunities for first team football with us have been limited and understandably he wants to be playing first team football,” Roeder told the official website.
“The Club is also well blessed with other young goalkeepers, with Steve Arnold and England youth internationals Declan Rudd and Jed Steer coming through the ranks. Everybody at Norwich City wishes Joe all the best.”
Despite the sizeable transfer fee, make no mistake, Posh feel they have pulled off a real coup and United boss Darren Ferguson was clearly delighted with the arrival of his new 6ft 5 goalkeeper.
“I feel that you don't get too many opportunities to make signings like this very often and I am delighted to sign such a highly-rated goalkeeper,” Ferguson told theposh.com.
“Joe was outstanding in the two matches against us and he has tremendous potential. He has great height and presence and I believe he is one of the better goalkeepers in the league.
“I also feel we have signed one of the most promising goalkeepers in the country. The lad still has a lot to learn but if he realises his potential here then we will have a top goalkeeper.”
The fee is certainly a hefty one in League Two terms but Posh are now the big boys at this level.
After the arrival of overseas property tycoon Darragh MacAnthony, they have plenty of cash to play with and the Peterborough Chairman had no qualms about breaking the club's transfer record, which eclipsed the ?350,000 that was paid for former Birmingham midfielder Martin O'Connor in July 1996.
The Irishman will stop at nothing in his quest to fire Posh to the Premier League and the signing of Lewis merely goes to prove how determined he is to achieve that.
“Joe is a massive talent that will compliment an already outstanding young squad,” MacAnthony told theposh.com.
“He was the Gaffer's number one target in the transfer window and we went and broke our record to sign him. I have no doubt he will be a massive success at Posh as we head towards the Premier League.”
“I don't see the signing of Joe as a gamble at all as we are signing what many people believe could be an England player,” MacAnthony added, when speaking to the Peterborough Evening Telegraph.
“He's only 20 and he is a big, dominating goalkeeper which you need in League Two as your penalty area gets bombarded with set pieces.
“He will be as important a signing as Aaron McLean and Craig Mackail-Smith have proved to be. It's another piece of the jigsaw we at the club like to call New Posh and he will be very influential over the coming years as we climb the various leagues.
“The deal will end up worth well over ?700,000 by the time we are in the Premiership.”
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