Fulham defender Dejan Stefanovic has signed a two-year contract with Norwich City and joins The Canaries for an undisclosed fee.
Veteran defender Stefanovic only linked up with Fulham last summer from Portsmouth and is hoping to help Norwich back into the Premier League.
“I have been in talks for some weeks now and I’m delighted that a deal has finally been struck for me to join Norwich City and Glenn Roeder as we set about challenging for promotion this season,” Stefanovic said.
“We want to be playing Premiership football again as soon as possible and I would like to do that with Delia Smith’s Norwich City.”
Glenn Roeder said “Stefanovic is a player I tried to sign when I was with West Ham, after he first caught my eye at Vitesse Arnhem. I couldn’t afford him then, but have a second opportunity to work with him now and I am very much looking forward to it.
Roeder said: “It’s great to bring in a player with Premiership experience and his arrival is part of our squad rebuilding ahead of the new season.
Fulham defender Dejan Stefanovic could be a surprise target for Norwich City boss Glenn Roeder.
The 33-year-old Serbian centre-half is halfway through a two-year contract with the Premier League club after a £1m move from Portsmouth last summer.
The Canaries are badly in need of defensive cover with Gary Doherty and Jason Shackell – reported to be the target of a £1m bid from Wolves – the only senior centre-backs in the squad.
Stefanovic’s agent, Phil Smith, of the First Artist Corporation, confirmed that City had made inquiries about the player.
He said: “There has been some interest, some discussion, but there is nothing that has gone any further down the line.
“It’s an idea at the moment. But it has not gone further than that.”
Stefanovic, who can also play at full-back, made 15 appearances for Fulham last season but did not feature in the first team after being sent off at the end of extra time in an FA Cup third round replay at Bristol Rovers in January.
The Serbia & Montenegro international began his career with Red Star Belgrade and was capped first by Yugoslavia in 1995, moving to Sheffield Wednesday later the same year for £2m.
But his chances were limited at Hillsborough and he made only 72 senior appearances in 3½ years, scoring five goals, and in the space of one season, he moved to Perugia, OFK Belgrade and Vitesse Arnhem.
He returned to England in a £1.9m move to Portsmouth in 2003. He was player of the season in 2004-05 and made 125 first team appearances, scoring three goals, before moving to Craven Cottage on the last day of the August transfer window.
Stefanovic, with 20 international caps, retired from international football in 2004.
Fulham defender Dejan Stefanovic claims he was the victim of ‘fabricated quotes’ and never slammed The Cottagers’ chances of hanging onto their top flight status.
Last week the 33-year-old was splashed over the media for allegedly saying his old club Portsmouth would claim victory in their final match of the season against Fulham, which The Cottagers eventually won 1-0 with a late goal by Danny Murphy.
A headline: “Stefanovic: We’re going to lose” hit the media stands and claimed that the outburst would spell the end of the former Sheffield Wednesday defender’s career at Craven Cottage.
A statement by Stefanovic released by Fulham, read: “Last week an article appeared in a local Portsmouth newspaper previewing Sunday’s crucial game at Fratton Park.
“I was deeply disappointed and angered to find I had been misquoted in the feature.
“To my dismay the quotes were subsequently repeated in The Sun newspaper on Saturday in an article written by a journalist I had not even spoken to.”
The centre back, bought in for £1 million from the South Coast side by sacked manager Lawrie Sanchez, has only made five appearances under Roy Hodgson since his arrival in December.
He said: “I would like to make it clear that despite not being involved last Sunday I was 100% behind the team and delighted to see the boys get the win that retained the club’s Premier League status.
“On a weekend when I should have been toasting my colleagues I was saddened to read fabricated quotes that were in no way representative of my feelings towards the game and our season.
“I am delighted that we won at Fratton Park and that the fans will be watching Premier League football again next season at Craven Cottage, and I would like to apologise to those fans and of course the club’s chairman, for these incorrect quotes appearing in the press in the build up to such a big game.”
Dejan Stefanovic has tipped Pompey to send his Fulham side tumbling into the Championship.
The former Fratton favourite thinks the Blues will triumph against Roy Hodgson’s side on Sunday.
Stefanovic feels the team he joined last August lack the same quality Harry Redknapp’s men possess.
And he thinks that will stop the Londoners getting the three points they need to be assured of safety.
Stefanovic said: ‘It’s a massive game for Fulham and we need to win.
‘I think it is going to be difficult to pick up all three points. I think we will be lucky to get a point.
‘Pompey have lost their last three games and it was a draw before that.
‘They will want to have a win going into the FA Cup final.
‘I know Harry Redknapp and what his teams are like.
‘Pompey always want to win at home whatever the game is.
‘I think it will be tough to take a result.
‘The players are not bad here.
‘It is a squad which can just about survive, if they are lucky.
‘But if you ask me “Who is going to win?” I think it will be Portsmouth.’
Stefanovic will miss an emotional return to his former club after falling out of favour under Hodgson.
The 33-year-old stated he will be leaving the club in the summer.
Stefanovic said: ‘I’ve not played since the start of the year and it will be disappointing not to play in front of the Pompey fans again.
‘I’ve said I will be leaving in the summer whatever happens on Sunday.
‘The manager has bought his players and has his opinion. That’s football. It’s no big deal.’
Fulham’s stand-in skipper Dejan Stefanovic has said he saw no future for the club under Lawrie Sanchez, and that he is already looking forward to the revolution under new manager with Roy Hodgson.
Sanchez replaced fan favourite and ex-player Chris Coleman, who was controversially sacked towards the end of last season.
Having been successful with Northern Ireland, big things were expected of Sanchez, who spent £25 million over the summer.
However, Fulham – not helped by some wretched luck – found themselves unforgivably in the relegation zone, and it cost Sanchez his job.
Stefanovic rues the club’s league position, but insisted a change was necessary.
“We were unlucky to lose a couple of games but I couldn’t see any better if we continued in the way we were,” he revealed.
“The board decided to change the manager and now we must see what we can do under him in order to survive in the squad.
“It’s very important to get our first win under the new manager. Everyone has been looking forward to working with him.
“He seems a very organised person. He’s been coaching in other countries and knows football inside out.
“We are playing more of a passing game now, which hasn’t been the case in the past,” he said.
“We have the players to play football at this club – internationals who are capable of it. But in some games in the past we did not play football.
“I can’t blame the previous manager as that was his style and everyone is different. Sometimes it was frustrating for the team.
“If you have the personnel to play football but they are asked to do something different, it becomes frustrating for the players.
“Now I’m looking forward to working with the new manager.”
Fulham entertain Bristol Rovers in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday and will be hoping for a good result to help inspire the side back into some much needed league form.
With the transfer window now open, many fans are eager for Hodgson to bring in reinforcements. However, following Sanchez’s summer squandering, Hodgson is eager to put the current crop of players first.
“All the players want to show the manager what they can do,” declared the Serbian.
“The new manager will want to maybe bring in some new players but the guys who are already here must prove ourselves as well.”
Stefanovic welcomes the possibility of recruitments, saying: “Of course I’d like the club to buy some new players. We don’t have a big squad and we have a few injuries at the moment.
“We have good players but that doesn’t mean we will stay in the Premiership.
“It’s difficult at the moment and when things are difficult you need to change something.
“I feel we need a couple of new players to help us.”
Fulham are second from bottom in the Premier League.