Norwich City transfer rumours: Fenerbahce and Villarreal keen on Buendia

Emi Buendia celebrates scoring his only goal of last season, during a 2-1 Premier League loss at Watford in July Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Emi Buendia celebrates scoring his only goal of last season, during a 2-1 Premier League loss at Watford in July Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Supporters of Fenerbahce became very interested in Norwich City star Emi Buendia all of a sudden this afternoon, after reports in Turkey that their club are keen to sign the Argentine playmaker.

Buendia and Todd Cantwell have made headlines in recent days after being left out of the Canaries’ squad for the game at Bournemouth on Sunday, with Daniel Farke explaining after the 1-0 defeat that he felt the talented duo had lost their focus ahead of the final weeks of the transfer window.

News of interest from Leeds in Cantwell had broken on the morning of the game but until now there had been few links to Buendia in recent months.

Now Turkish television station TRT Spor are reporting that Fenerbahce have begun attempts to sign the 23-year-old former Real Madrid trainee - with a potential initial loan deal in mind.

The same outlet however also report that Spanish side Villarreal are interested in a permanent deal - who Norwich have dealt with this summer, signing left-back Xavi Quintilla on loan with a view to the deal being made permanent if promotion can be secured.

The Istanbul club finished seventh in the Super Lig last season and the 19-time champions have not won their domestic title since 2014.

Fener were Champions League quarter-finalists in 2008 and but have not competed in the group stages since 2009, failing to make it through the qualifying rounds on several occasions since then - although did reach the Europa League semi-finals in 2013.

Erol Bulut, a German left-back who made over 100 appearances for the club as a player, became their manager ahead of this season and signed Aston Villa striker Mbwana Samatta last week on a season-long loan with a view to a £5.5million permanent deal.

MORE: Buendia claims top spot as City’s ratings for Fifa 21 are revealed

Buendia enjoyed a brilliant first season in England when he scored eight goals and assisted 17 in 41 games in all competitions, as Norwich won the Championship title.

He had been signed from Spanish side Getafe for around £1.5million, which reportedly rose to around £5m once add-ons had been factored in for promotion to the Premier League.

He managed seven assists but just one goal in 36 games in the top flight last season, being dropped to the bench mid-season after some costly errors and being sent off in the penultimate game of the relegation campaign for a frustrated elbow in the back of an opposition player during a home defeat to Burnley.

He is under contract until 2024 but spoke out earlier this month to say that he would be interested in leaving for a club at a higher level - but that he was fully committed to the Championship cause while still a Norwich player.

Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Leeds and Crystal Palace have all been linked with the 23-year-old this year as well.

VERDICT: The days of Fenerbahce signing big names appear to be gone, with battles to meet Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules limiting them in recent years, having had stars such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Nicolas Anelka, Roberto Carlos and Robin van Persie in the past.

So will they have the financial muscle to sign Buendia from Norwich, arguably the club’s most valuable asset?

Even with the impact on football’s finance of the coronavirus pandemic, City aren’t going to sell Buendia for less than the initial £21million that Leicester paid for James Maddison in 2018 based on his Championship success.

Buendia, a former Argentina Under-20 international, has already achieved more than that and made headlines as one of the most creative players in the Premier League last season.

Despite the Canaries finishing bottom, it was only Manchester City and Belgium star Kevin De Bruyne (3.9) and Maddison and Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish (both 2.5) who averaged more than his 2.3 key passes per game.

The subsequent addition of Villarreal to the mix is interesting, given Buendia’s roots in Spain.

Managed by former Arsenal boss Unai Emery, the Yellow Submarine have been able to spend in recent years thanks to top half finishes in La Liga and regularly competing in the Europa League, including a club record deal of around £20million for Borussia Dortmund forward Paco Alcacer in January.

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