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Johnson signs as Canaries line up new Pilkington bid

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LEEDS UNITED’S out-of-contract Bradley Johnson said he had no hesitation in signing for Paul Lambert and helping keep Norwich in the Premier League.

The 24-year-old is, subject to the paperwork being completed, set to become Lambert’s fifth new addition of the summer as the Canaries chief bolsters his squad which secured successive promotions back into England’s top tier for the first time since 2005.

With strikers James Vaughan and Steve Morison, winger Elliott Bennett from Brighton and young Belgian defender Ritchie de Laet on loan from Manchester United already on board, Johnson, who was out of contract at Leeds, admits it was an easy decision to head to Norfolk.

Norwich are also said to be closing in on Anthony Pilkington after Huddersfield revealed the 23-year-old winger, who is recovering from a broken leg, had asked to leave, having been the subject of a £1.75m bid from the Canaries.

Lambert is also expected to add more defensive cover before the squad head to Germany for the start of a short pre-season training camp in mid-July, but missed out on England Under-21 international Steven Caulker, who joined fellow Premier League newcomers Swansea on loan from Tottenham.

“Paul Lambert has done a fantastic job since he arrived at Norwich and that was one of the main factors in me signing with the club,” said Johnson.

“I am over the moon really to get the chance to play in the Premier League with a big club like Norwich City and under a great manager who I have a lot of respect for.

“Norwich have already got some good players there and I have had some great battles with some of them over the past couple of years in my time with Leeds.

“They proved they were a good team by getting back-to-back promotions, and another deciding factor was to join a team that enjoys playing football and is hungry and has got that desire to succeed.

“I cannot wait to join up with the squad and meet everyone, get training and get a good pre-season under my belt.”

Johnson, born in Hackney, started his career in East Anglia as a trainee at Cambridge, before joining Northampton in 2005, and transferred to Elland Road three seasons later.

The midfielder made more than 100 appearances for Leeds, scoring 17 goals including a long-range strike in last season’s FA Cup replay against Arsenal.

After Leeds missed out on promotion, finishing seventh in the Championship, Johnson is relishing his first taste of top-flight action with the Canaries.

“I have dreamed of playing in the Premier League since I was younger and I feel I have done a lot of hard work to get there, coming up from the Ryman League now all the way to getting a chance in the Premier League, I just can’t wait to get started,” he said.

“Bradley’s a strong midfielder and will come in and give everybody here a hand,” said the Norwich manager.