At the end of May
2001, Norwich announced that Belgian central defender Mario Verheyen
would join them for pre-season training in July with view to a future
transfer if he proved his skill and fitness. Mario began his career
with Lierse in 1993 but moved to Sint-Niklaas in 1995/96. The next
year saw a stint with Rita Berlaur before he joined Westerlo for
the 97/98 season. Plagued by injuries, he missed most of the 2000/01
season whilst Westerlo qualified for Europe. Comfortable also on
the left side of defence, Westerlo would expect a fee for Verheyen.
Despite playing on Norwich's pre-season tour of Scotland, Nigel
Worthington thought Verheyen wasn't of sufficient quality to add
to the Canaries' ranks and so Mario returned to the Low Countries.
A return to East Anglia was suggested in January 2002 when Ipswich
were linked with a move to sign Verheyen, possibly on loan. In the
summer of 2002, Mario signed another two year contract with Westerlo.