City have completed the signing of Brighton captain Andrew Crofts this evening on a three-year deal, for an “undisclosed” fee.
It has been widely reported that the 25-year-old midfielder was Carrow Road-bound after he pulled out of the Wales squad to face Croatia on Sunday.
And he has now tied up his move to Norfolk for what the Seagulls’ official website say is a “significant sum”.
Crofts joined Albion on a free transfer from Gillingham last summer and boss Gus Poyet made him captain upon his arrival on the south coast earlier in the season.
And although reluctant to let his skipper leave, the former Chelsea and Spurs man acknowledges that it’s a step up for the Wales international.
“We are really disappointed that Crofty is leaving us, because he was such an important player for us last season,” said the Brighton boss, speaking to www.seagulls.co.uk.
“When a team is playing well you inevitably attract attention from other clubs and you can end up losing players.
“But that is football. This is a wonderful chance for Crofty to go and play in the Championship at a great stadium.
“Players only have short careers, and he feels he can’t let this opportunity pass him by; we have to respect that. We wish him well, and would like to thank him for all his efforts last season.”
Albion chairman Tony Bloom added: “Naturally we are bitterly disappointed that Andrew is leaving us, because he had become an important part of the team. But we understand what a great opportunity this is for him, and we wish him well for the future.”
Crofts’ sterling performances in midfield eventually led him to be voted Player of the Season by Albion supporters and he is a respected and influential member of the dressing room. Poyet – a man who knows plenty about the engine room – must have seen something special to make him captain immediately.
In an interview with the Brighton Argus last year, Crofts describes himself as an all-action midfielder, although he would like to get on the scoresheet a little more often, scoring five times for the Seagulls in 50 appearances.
“It would be nice if I could chip in with the goals,” he said, speaking last October. “That isn’t my main job but it would be nice to score a couple and I am looking to do that in the near future.
“I like getting up and down the pitch and arriving late in the box and if balls are put in there I like to attack them.”