Kei Kamara speaks of disappointment at missing out on permanent Norwich move

Norwich City

The Columbus Crew SC striker, who has 20 goals in 28 MLS appearances this season, spent three months on loan at Carrow Road during the 2012-13 campaign.

Kei Kamara is currently enjoying a stellar season back in MLS but, had things gone a bit differently in 2013, the Columbus Crew SC striker could be starring in the Premier League instead.

The then-Sporting Kansas City star had a three-month loan stint at Norwich City during the second half of the 2012-13 season and, despite scoring just once in 11 appearances, he managed to establish himself as a fan favourite thanks to his jovial attitude.

The Canaries even had the chance to purchase him outright at the end of his spell but, with the club battling against relegation at the time, a permanent move failed to materialise – much to the Sierra Leone international’s disappointment.

Speaking on an MLS Insider piece about his experience at Carrow Road, where his goal in a 2-1 win over Everton helped contribute to Norwich's eventual top-flight survival, Kamara said: “Moving to England and playing in the Premier League was a dream. The guys were welcoming and just made me feel at home.

“I thought, ‘Oh, this is a place where I’m definitely going to feel good.’

“I had an option for Norwich to buy me from MLS but it didn’t end up happening because they weren’t safe at the time.

“The goal I scored is something I’m never going to forget, though. I was the first Sierra Leonean to score in the Premier League and I know how much it meant to the fans out there.”

Nevertheless, Kamara did end up returning to England the following season, joining Middlesbrough from Sporting KC in September 2013 for around £900,000, before going on to score four times in his first eight appearances for the Championship club.

However, injuries soon took their toll and, after going goalless over the rest of the campaign, the 6ft 3in front man found himself out of favour with new boss Aitor Karanka heading into the 2014-15 season.

Those circumstances prompted him to cancel his contract at the Riverside Stadium last August and return to the States over Europe to join the Crew – the club where he began his professional career after being selected ninth overall in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft.

“I went there and things started moving really fast, with the coaching staff leaving and all that,” he added on his Boro spell. “And then I injured my knee and never really got settled, so that’s why I decided that maybe it was best we go our separate ways.

“There were all these options for me to go and play in other countries but I didn’t want to bounce around in different places. At this part in my career, I wanted to come back and be part of something.”

The 31-year-old’s decision has certainly proved an inspired one so far, as a brace in Saturday night’s 2-1 win at the Philadelphia Union took his season total to 20 goals in 28 MLS games.

Named to the All-Star team in the summer for the first time, the Golden Boot leader is now one of the favourites for the MVP award heading into the regular-season run-in and even has an outside chance of breaking the league’s single-season scoring record of 27 goals.

With the playoff-bound Crew having just five games left, that may ultimately prove too tough a task but, regardless, there can be no overstating just how impressive Kamara has been in his first season back in the US.

There is an even argument to make that his form has been good enough to earn him a second chance in Europe but, while the experienced front man seems to have learnt a great deal during his spells at Norwich and Boro, it certainly sounds like he is perfectly happy to stay in Columbus for the foreseeable future.

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