Zak Whitbread profile: New Leicester City catch?
Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson is in talks with former Norwich defender Zak Whitbread.
City are reported to be fighting for the signature of the 28-year-old, who is a free agent after being released from Norwich at the end of last season.
The American player had been with the club since January 2010, having joined from Millwall in the transfer window.
Born in Houston, Texas, Whitbread and his family moved to England when he was a toddler. He joined Liverpool’s Centre of Excellence at the age of eight, before moving to Singapore for five years while his father Barry was the coach of the Singapore national football team during the late 1990s.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
He moved back to England as a young teenager to try to carve out a name for himself in Liverpool. He played under-15 and under-16 football for the club, before being awarded a scholarship.
At the end of the first two years of his scholarship, Whitbread was told he was being kept on for a third, during which time he played a number of reserve games.
He went to Melwood to train with the first team at the end of his third scholarship year, and made his first team debut in the 2004-05 season.
Whitbread went out on loan to Millwall in November 2005. His loan spell was extended the following January, and saw him see out the rest of the season at the club.
Whitbread, who played 25 times for the Lions while on loan, signed a two-year contract with the club in the summer of 2006. He joined the London-based club for an undisclosed fee.
In December that year Whitbread sustained a groin injury which saw him sidelined for the rest of the season. He had hoped to make a swift recovery from the hairline fracture, sustained while playing against Bradford City, but failed to respond to treatment.
In January 2008 Whitbread signed a contract extension with Millwall, pledging to stay with the club until 2010. His deal had been due to expire at the end of the season.
Whitbread told the club's official website at the time: "I'm delighted to commit myself to Millwall for the next two-and-a-half years.
“I've had a few ups and downs since I first arrived here on loan from Liverpool and injuries have been a big factor in that. But I've been given a chance to show what I can do in recent weeks and touch wood things have been going well.”
In June 2009 Whitbread became a shock target for Belgian side Racing Genk, and was also linked with a number of Championship clubs. In the weeks that followed Millwall turned up the heat, telling Whitbread they wanted him to sign a contract extension by the end of July.
Chairman John Berylson told the Southwark News: "I don't want to clip his wings, but he is an important asset to us. We won't give him away, but we would agree that he could move on to further his career."
In mid-July Millwall announced Whitbread had been placed on the transfer list after he rejected the opportunity for contract talks.
The following month Whitbread looked to be close to signing with Peterborough, but the club pulled out after failing to agree personal terms with the player. And in September Swansea City postponed their bid to sign the player until the New Year because of injury.
The Championship club had agreed a deal to sign Whitbread, but he had just undergone hip surgery, so the signing was postponed.
It wasn’t until January 2010 that Whitbread made his next signing, with Norwich City. He penned a two-and-a-half year contract for an undisclosed fee.
Whitbread has also enjoyed an international career, having represented the United States Under-20s team at the 2003 World Youth Championship. He was later promoted to the under-23 squad.
He was called up to the senior squad for the friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay in March 2011, but had to pull out due to injury.
Whitbread spoke publicly in March this year of his desire to remain at Norwich. He said: "As a player, obviously you want to know you have got a future or a bit of stability, but football has changed.
"You have got to get used to not having four or five-year contracts, and that at the end of the year anything could happen. You have got to take it game by game.
"I am desperate to stay in this league and I have got to work really hard with the rest of the lads to try and achieve that."
It remains to be seen whether Whitbread and Pearson will agree terms.