Tyrone Barnett out to justify record fee
Peterborough United's club record-breaking capture of striker Tyrone Barnett continues the Posh policy of investing in non-league talent.
The 26-year-old arrives from Crawley having played the bulk of his career to date outside of the Football League.
The exact fee has remained undisclosed but is likely to be more than the combined transfers of all the other strikers currently at the club.
Posh had been tracking Barnett throughout January, and with good reason according to Crawley boss Steve Evans.
He told the Peterborough Evening Telegraph: "Tyrone has got the lot. I have got through life without being jealous of anyone, but I am very jealous of Darren Ferguson.
"He has just signed the best striker outside of the Premier League. I have no doubts about that and I don't think I'm the only one with that opinion."
Having grown up in Birmingham, Barnett started his career in the West Bromwich Albion academy but was released as a teenager.
"I was devastated when West Brom released me, as you fear that you've lost your chance," he told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
Spells with Rushall Olympic, Telford United and Willenhall Town followed before a breakthrough season with Hednesford Town in which he scored 28 goals in all competitions.
Barnett finally made the move back into the Football League at the age of 24, agreeing a one-year deal with Macclesfield with an option for a second. Within a month of signing, the deal was extended.
Following a particularly impressive showing in an FA Cup draw with Southend, manager Gary Simpson was left singing his praises.
"If there's been a better centre forward performance this season I haven't seen it. He has made huge strides," Simpson told BBC Radio Manchester.
"If he keeps playing like that we'll struggle to keep hold of him."
After scoring 13 goals in 45 League Two appearances for the Silkmen, Barnett was on the move again, this time to Crawley for a fee of around £200,000.
Playing alongside the prolific Matt Tubbs, Barnett helped himself to 14 goals from 25 league matches, catching the eye of Peterborough United in the process.
Barnett's transfer to the Posh is a record fee for a League Two player, so he is under a certain amount of pressure to deliver.
But despite the price tag, Darren Ferguson is confident he will match the billing and prove money well spent.
"He's technically very good and can score all different types of goals so he'll give us something different," he told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
"The fee won't affect him one bit, but we need to be patient with him as he's unlikely to be scoring hat-tricks every week."
Steve Evans may believe Barnett is destined for the Premier League, but for the moment the player himself is simply delighted just to be with the Posh.
Where not so long ago he was delivering medical supplies for a living, now he is a professional footballer worth in excess of a million pounds following in the footsteps of the likes of Aaron McLean and Craig Mackail-Smith.
"I always hoped that one day I would make it pro so I just kept putting the work in," he said.
"If you would've asked me two years ago when I was still doing a nine to five job I never would have believed you."