The worst kept secret in Norfolk was finally revealed last night, after the capture of Gillingham striker Simeon Jackson on a two-year contract was confirmed by City officials.
The Canadian international has been linked with a move to the League One champions all summer and Paul Lambert has got his man, even if the Scot has had to part with Cody McDonald as part of the deal, with the former Dartford man returning to Kent on a season-long loan.
The fee was, as ever, ‘undisclosed’, but with a figure of £500,000 being mentioned, it seems as if the boat has indeed been pushed out in order to get Jackson to Carrow Road.
And with his pace, power and eye for goal, the 23-year-old should compliment Grant Holt and Chrissy Martin nicely as City look to hit the ground running on their Championship return.
Jackson netted 18 times despite the Kent club’s relegation from League One last season, and the Canary boss was a happy man last night after tying him down for two years, with the option of a third.
“I’m delighted to have Simeon at the football club; he’ll be a great addition to the squad and will put pressure on the other lads,” Lambert told the club’s official website.
“He’s a goalscorer – he scored loads of goals for Gillingham in the last two seasons and he is an international striker.
“We first saw him at Rushden & Diamonds, where his goalscoring record was brilliant, and we obviously came up against him last season.”
Jackson was out of contract next summer and, as he would then be over the age of 24, the Gills would have been unable to claim any compensation if he moved on.
As a result, they have decided to cash in now and 15 per cent of the transfer fee will be winging its way to former club Rushden & Diamonds after they activated a sell-on clause.
The City new boy made his debut for the Gills on February 2 in a Priestfield clash with Cheltenham but he had to wait a while for his first goal, netting in a 2-1 win over Bournemouth at the end of March.
He soon became a fans’ favourite, however, and Jackson ended the following season as Gillingham’s top scorer with 21 in total, including the last minute goal at Wembley in the play-off final against Shrewsbury.
As for the man who will be filling his shoes in Kent, City supporters will be hoping McDonald can return to Norfolk in a year’s time having found the net in League Two on a regular basis.
A popular figure in the dressing room and on the terraces, the Essex boy has always showed glimpses of his talent during his year-and-a-half at Norwich, scoring some crucial goals last season.
But having been plucked from non-league Dartford by Bryan Gunn, the current City boss believes McDonald needs regular first-team action at this stage of his career. After that, who knows?
“Cody needs games. He’s not long out of non-league so his game is still developing. He’s been great for the squad and always worked hard when he’s come off the bench and scored one or two vital goals as well.
“But this move will get him more competitive games under his belt which is important for him and us.”
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