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Norwich strengthen strikeforce with new signings but miss out on Gary Hooper

Updated: Friday, 01 Feb 2013 00:24 | Comments

Celtic fans will be happy with the emphatic stance taken by manager Neil Lennon on Gary Hooper
Celtic fans will be happy with the emphatic stance taken by manager Neil Lennon on Gary Hooper

Norwich signed two strikers on transfer deadline day, but were told by Celtic that they would get nowhere with bids for Gary Hooper.

The Canaries swapped Steve Morison for Leeds' Luciano Becchio and signed Kei Kamara but continued to pursue Celtic's Hooper, for whom they have made a number of offers.

Reports surfaced tonight that they may have made another, but Celtic manager Neil Lennon took to Twitter to shut them down.

"Contrary to reports there have been no fresh bids for Gary and even if there are they will be rejected..he is NOT for sale," Lennon wrote.

Norwich chief executive David McNally, meanwhile, revealed this evening that further transfer activity involving the Barclays Premier League club before the deadline was unlikely.

He tweeted: "Not expecting to do any further business today."

Despite seemingly missing out on Hooper, Norwich have signed a player in Becchio who has 19 Championship goals to his name this season and who cannot wait to test himself in the top flight.

City manager Chris Hughton has been keen to bolster his attacking options to avoid being dragged into a dogfight for survival and had already moved to bring in Kamara on loan from Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City, subject to the Sierra Leone international receiving a work permit.

Becchio will offer much-needed back-up to Norwich captain Grant Holt and the 29-year-old former Boca Juniors player feels he is ready to make the step up to the challenges of the English top flight.

"Finally everything is closed. I wanted to come to Norwich, and my family did also. It is a great opportunity for me," Becchio told Canaries Player.

"The Premier League has a massive following and is the best league.

"I want to get into the team quickly if I can, I am ready."

Becchio has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal with the Canaries, but admits there was some disappointment at leaving Leeds, after he had handed in a transfer request at Elland Road last week when talks over a new deal faltered.

"I had very good memories of Leeds, so it is a little bit sad to leave, but that is football," added Becchio, who will join former Leeds team-mates Jonny Howson, Robert Snodgrass and Bradley Johnson at Carrow Road.

"I can only say thank you to all the fans of Leeds, they will always be in my head."

Wales striker Morison will look to kickstart his career with Leeds after falling down the pecking order at Norwich after his £2.8million move in the summer of 2011.

Kamara, meanwhile, is relishing the opportunities ahead, being loaned to the Canaries until 6 May with an option to buy.

"England's a Mecca of the game, and no player is going to want to turn that opportunity down to go play some games over there," Kamara told www.MLSsoccer.com.

"I am just excited to get this chance, and for the Sporting organisation and coaching staff to let me go live this out."

Hughton is confident Kamara has the attributes required to swiftly adapt to the English game.

"He's a player that's done very, very well in the MLS over the last few seasons, scored a lot of goals, a lot of assists," said Hughton, who takes his side to relegation-battlers QPR on Saturday.

"Anybody coming from a different country, different division, it's how quickly they can settle in.

"From what I've seen of him, we're not just taking an average player from that division. We're taking a player from that division that has excelled in recent seasons. That's a plus.

"How quickly he can adapt, how much he can give us, we are quite looking forward to the prospect of seeing that."

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