Belfast Telegraph

Hero David finally joins Sanchez in £1.5m switch

By Stuart McKinley

David Healy will today complete Northern Ireland's fab four at Fulham when he finally ties up a deal to join former international manager Lawrie Sanchez at Craven Cottage.

Following hot on the heels of defender Chris Baird signing a four-year deal with the London club yesterday, Healy was this morning close to agreeing terms on a £1.5million move from Leeds United to the Premier League.

And with Aaron Hughes and Steve Davis already on-board after moves from Aston Villa in the last couple of weeks there will now be a quartet of players from the west-London club in Nigel Worthington's Northern Ireland squad.

Leeds accepted Fulham's offer for the player and Northern Ireland's record goalscorer travelled south from his Manchester base last night to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical.

Once all that is in place Healy will get to fulfil his dream of being a Premier League footballer.

Although he started his career at Manchester United, Healy's only previous taste of top flight action came two days before Christmas in 2000 as a second-half substitute against Ipswich Town - less than a week before leaving Old Trafford for Preston North End.

He came within inches of marking that league debut with a goal, sending a header crashing off a post from a David Beckham cross in United's 2-0 win.

The Killyleagh-man will now be aiming to instead hit the net on a regular basis with his new club in the Premier League.

Given the fact that more than half his international goals have come in the last three and a half years under Sanchez - before he left for Fulham - there is every chance that Healy will be among the goals in English football's elite.

Sanchez has always believed that Healy is a Premier League quality finisher, claims which his goals in the memorable victories over England, Spain and Sweden would back-up.

The ex-Northern Ireland boss also stated on a number of occasions that if he were a Premier League manager he would beg his chairman for the money to sign David Healy.

Now he has proved to be as good as his word and if Sanchez can get Healy firing for Fulham like he did for Northern Ireland then there is ever chance that he can revive the club's fortunes in the same way he did for the international team.

Meanwhile, Baird wants to help Fulham avoid another season of struggle after arriving in west London from the south coast.

"We don't want to be in the same position we were in last season - we want to be secure in the Premiership and hopefully we can finish much higher up next year," said Baird.

"I'm sure with the players we've got we can do that."

"I am well aware of Chris' attributes as a player from my time with Northern Ireland and his qualities and versatility will be a major asset for the club next season," said Sanchez.

Baird added: "It's been a long, hard wait but thankfully it's all done and dusted now and I'm a Fulham player.

"To play in the Premiership was one of the major reasons for me coming here.

"There are good quality players here and I'm just looking forward to the season. It's not the easiest start against Arsenal."

Belfast Telegraph


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