Despite being linked with some of England’s biggest clubs, James Maddison decided to move to Norwich in the final minutes of deadline day. And it was how late Alex Neil left it which swung things in their favour, according to Liverpool Offside.

Late in the January transfer window, Liverpool and Tottenham were linked heavily with a move for Coventry City’s 19-year-old midfield starlet James Maddison. Journalists with ties to both clubs had confirmed that the two Premier League heavyweights were genuinely pursuing him. Which made for something of a shock when Norwich City signed him on deadline day.

The Norfolk side didn’t even have to fork out a extraordinary amount to land the Coventry lad, with only £2.5m up front tied to a further £5m in performance and appearance-based add-ons. With all the rumours flying around on deadline day, this was a move nobody expected.

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When asked about how it was his side that had beaten Liverpool and Tottenham for Maddison’s signature, Norwich manager Alex Neil said:

I think the fact we left it so late in the window certainly played in our favour If we had gone earlier we would have most likely lost him to a bigger team. I know there was one team in particular aggressively trying to hi-jack it.

We were pursuing another signing that night so we had money available, but unfortunately for us it didn’t transpire. We said and thought all along we could add some more youth the the ranks for the club going forward. Once that other move didn’t go through we had money we wanted to put to good use and he was the one we highlighted.

The big boys who had been monitoring Maddison— who were content to wait until the summer—were caught off guard. With such a promising talent going for such a standard fee in today’s overheated transfer market, you have to assume the Sky Blues may be expecting another pay out further down the line.

But Norwich still pulled off a coup beating Liverpool and Spurs to a talented youngster that both clubs had rated very highly. If he does well for the Canaries, it won’t be long until they’re linked with a move for him once again.