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Canaries aware of EPL vultures circling amid relegation battle


Canaries aware of EPL vultures circling amid relegation battle

Norwich City could well be victims of their own success in the coming months. The newly-promoted Canaries have kept faith with much of the squad that earned them a 2018/19 Championship title, with boss Daniel Farke given a limited transfer budget for his first crack at the English Premier League (EPL). As the league’s only self-funded club, City could be forced to sell off some of their crown jewels in the close season if, as expected, Norwich make an immediate return to the Championship.

It’s been something of a struggle at home and away for Norwich, lacking firepower at one end and seemingly unable to keep clean sheets at the other. Flying Finn Teemu Pukki, who was in such irresistible form in front of goal in the Championship, has mustered 11 goals in the EPL, with the second highest top scorer being Todd Cantwell with only six. Combine that with leaking 52 goals in their opening 29 games, it’s easy to see why the latest EPL odds on relegation have the Canaries as short as 1/9 to bid farewell to the EPL again, becoming a genuine yo-yo club akin to West Bromwich Albion of the mid-to-late 2000s.

Already, the Norwich hierarchy will be aware of the EPL’s vultures circling above Carrow Road. Many of the young guns that played with such freedom and swagger to earn City promotion last year have adapted well to EPL life and will almost certainly earn moves to other top-flight clubs in the event of relegation.

Max Aarons is a major target for both Tottenham and Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho is said to have been a long-time admirer of Norwich right back Max Aarons. The former Luton Town trainee has hit the ground running since moving to Norfolk, with his wing back attributes catching the eye of many top-flight scouts. Aarons agreed a new five-year contract with the Canaries last summer, so it’s unknown whether that deal includes a minimum fee release clause or a get-out clause if a top-flight team makes advances.

Nevertheless, Mourinho is certainly keen on bringing him to North London at the end of this season, given the continued doubts over the long-term suitability of Serge Aurier. Aarons would appear to be a ready-made replacement for Aurier. Just a stone’s throw from the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium, bitter rivals Arsenal are also said to be readying an approach this summer. Boss Mikel Arteta views Aarons as a long-term successor to Hector Bellerin, but reports suggest the Gunners could be Arsenal-join-rivals-Tottenham-race-sign-30m-rated-Norwich-star-Max-Aarons.html">priced out of a deal, with Arteta forced to deal in the bargain basement this close season.

Todd Cantwell could be Anfield-bound this summer

Goalscoring midfielders are not always easy to come by, which is why homegrown prospect Todd Cantwell has put himself firmly in the EPL shop window with six goals to his name this term. Having scored big goals against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City this season, he has proven his capability against some of the best players in the league. Earlier this year, journalists linked Cantwell with a summer switch to likely EPL champions Liverpool, having caught the eye in the Reds’ away game with the Canaries at Carrow Road.

Cantwell was by no means the first name on Daniel Farke’s team sheet in Norwich’s promotion-winning season. However, he was starting to show glimpses of being ready for first team football, week-in week-out. Farke has been true to his word and given the Dereham-born midfielder a platform to flourish this year. Their free-flowing yet naïve approach to this season has given Cantwell licence to roam. Like Aarons, Norwich are said to have slapped a £30m price tag on Cantwell, but that’s unlikely to deter clubs of Liverpool’s stature.

Jamal Lewis also firmly on the radar of EPL clubs

Like Max Aarons, Jamal Lewis has adapted to life in the top-flight with ease on the opposite flank. The fleet-footed left back has also earned international honours in recent months, playing for the Northern Ireland senior squad. With Jose Mourinho said to be given a sizeable war chest to strengthen the Spurs squad this summer, it’s possible the Portuguese could look to take both Aarons and Lewis from the Canaries.

Ryan Sessegnon has failed to take his opportunity at Spurs with both hands since joining from Fulham, with Mourinho seemingly losing patience with the youngster. Meanwhile long-serving left back Danny Rose is also set to depart Tottenham in the close season having been loaned out to Newcastle in January. Jamal Lewis would therefore be a sensible investment for Mourinho. Spurs may also have competition from city neighbours Crystal Palace, who were thought to have been weighing up making an offer for Lewis’ services in the January transfer window.

Ben Godfrey and Emi Buendia are also being mentioned in despatches too

It’s not just the ‘golden trio’ of Aarons, Cantwell and Lewis that could have their heads turned this summer either. Midfielder-turned-central defender Ben Godfrey has also shown real signs of promise since his return from loans away at League One outfit Shrewsbury Town. He too has the athleticism and technique to thrive in the EPL.

One other likely candidate for a summer departure is Argentine playmaker, Emi Buendia. The former Getafe midfield schemer was a relative unknown when snapped up by the Canaries at the start of the 2019/20 campaign, but he was a vital cog in the wheel of Norwich’s front line, scoring eight and assisting 12 in 38 appearances. The 23-year-old hasn’t had it all his own way this season, failing to find the scoresheet and being in and out of the starting XI. Nevertheless, his pedigree – having played for Argentina at Under-20 level – is not in question and would certainly be a good squad player for most bottom-half EPL sides next term.

Despite the doom and gloom surrounding potential departures from Carrow Road, it’s fair to say these sales will underpin Norwich’s financial future for many years. Alongside parachute payments, this money will be reinvested directly into the Norwich infrastructure as a debt-free club. Fans will have their fingers crossed that Daniel Farke will be driven enough to try and build a new-look team for another promotion tilt.