Fresh from securing his own future at Norwich City, Canary boss Paul Lambert tonight wasted little time in adding fresh fire-power to his Premiership-bound squad by bolting on 22-year-old Everton striker James Vaughan to his squad.
A figure of £2.5 million was widely quoted this evening for the young man’s signature. Sources close to the Carrow Road club insisted, however, that the figure was far nearer £1.5 million as the Everton youth product agreed a three-year contract with the Norfolk club.
Officially – as ever – the precise figure remained ‘undisclosed’.
Either way, Vaughan certainly fits the Lambert bill to a ‘T’ – he is young, hungry and with a point to prove. He will also keep Simeon Jackson firmly on his toes for that second striker’s berth alongside skipper Grant Holt.
At five-foot nine, he is not the big target man; he’s the one to play off a Holt.
“He’s someone who fits in with the group in the sense that he’s hungry to do well and has great desire,” City chief Lambert told the club’s official website.
Vaughan spent the better part of last season on loan at Crystal Palace for whom he scored nine goals. He did, however, make one appearance for his ‘mother’ club – coming on as 74th minute substitute for Everton in the 2-2 Merseyside draw at Anfield in mid-season.
Given that the Birmingham-born forward made his Everton debut as a 16-year-old and still holds the record as the Premiership’s youngest ever goal-scorer with a goal against, coincidentally, Palace in 2005 aged 16 years and 271 days, his ability has been evident from an early age.
As, alas, has a string of misfortunes injury-wise, including serious knee injuries and a badly dislocated shoulder. But two loan spells at Selhurst Park – at the sharp end of a poorly-performing Eagles outfit – has still demonstrated enough potential for Lambert to make Vaughan his first summer signing.
His impending signature might, incidentally, knock all talk of a move for German international Miroslav Klose on the head.
“He’s already shown great potential as a young player with Everton and when I have seen him playing for them and for Crystal Palace I have always thought he was a threat in and around the box,” Lambert added.
“I think James will be fantastic for us and provide extra competition for places, which is always good to have.”
Vaughan himself tonight admitted that he was simply delighted to get his future sorted so early in the summer. Deal done and dusted, he can now relax for five weeks before returning to Norfolk in time for the first day of pre-season.
“I’m really happy to get it done so early in the summer,” he told the club’s official website this evening.
“And that’s what I wanted all along – to get it done and to make sure that I got a full pre-season. I can look forward to the season ahead now.”
The former England Youth international looks one of those that just needs a decent run form and fortune-wise to fulfil his early promise.
He will certainly give Jackson something to think about; ditto Chrissy Martin.
Norwich’s recent record had not gone unnoticed it appears; Vaughan has been taking note of just how far – and how quickly – Lambert has already taken the Norfolk club.
“I was very impressed with Norwich last season,” he said. “Getting promoted two seasons in a row isn’t easy and a lot of credit has to go to the team for doing that.”
It will, of course, mean a big move from Merseyside; he has been an Everton boy from an early age, but the time now appears ripe for a switch.
“It was hard to leave Everton,” he admitted, after being offered a four-year contract at Goodison in the 2006-2007 season on the back of that rich early promise.
“I’ve been there since I was six, but now is the time for me to move on and to try and get games elsewhere and I’m pleased that I’ve signed for Norwich.
“The club is going in the right direction and, hopefully, I can join and keep that going in the Premier League.”