Norwich City Rumour Mill: Wolves keen on Aarons and Stoke interested in Lewis
PUBLISHED: 10:45 19 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:13 20 July 2020
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Norwich City full-backs Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis both feature in the Sunday gossip columns this weekend.
England Under-21 right-back Aarons is being linked with interest from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Sunday Mirror, suggesting the 20-year-old is valued at around £20million as his first season in the Premier League moves to a close.
The youngster has played the most minutes of any of City’s outfield players this season, missing just two top-flight games through injury as he built on winning the EFL Young Player of the Season award at the end of 2018-19.
He has managed two assists in 38 games this season as the Canaries have endured a thoroughly disappointing campaign, with relegation as the division’s bottom side already confirmed.
Aarons is expected to be one of the most in-demand City players this summer though, after featuring regularly for the England U21s this season, earning five caps alongside high-profile talent from bigger clubs.
The report states that Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo believes Aarons would be a “valuable addition” to his squad, with another Europa League campaign looking likely for sixth-placed Wolves - unless they were to win that competition next month to qualify for the Champions League.
The link to Lewis is rather unexpected however, with the Belfast Telegraph claiming the left-back’s former Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is hopeful of taking him to Stoke City.
The report even goes on to say that it would seem unlikely, given that Norwich are expected to demand in excess of £10m and unlikely to sell to a club which will be a Championship rival next season.
Lewis, 22, has made 99 appearances for Norwich since being given his debut by Daniel Farke in December 2017. He was alongside Aarons and Teemu Pukki in the Championship Team of the Season after City won the title in 2019.
The former Luton Town trainee, who joined the Canaries at 16 having also competed for national 800m titles in athletics before concentrating on a football career, has been capped 12 times by Northern Ireland. He was born in Luton but qualifies for his chosen nation through his Belfast-born mother.
VERDICT: Wolves would appear to be a great move for Aarons, if a bid does arrive. An upwardly mobile club with plenty of matches thanks to their European involvement and a coach who tries to play attractive football.
Santo has also kept faith with a 3-4-3 formation during his successful stint with the wealthy West Midlands club, with a wing-back role seemingly a better fit for Aarons than a traditional full-back role for a team struggling at the wrong end of the table.
Would face an established right wing-back in Republic of Ireland international Matt Doherty but is still young and developing.
The academy product has progressed really well for City but few fans would begrudge him a £20m move to a club with European ambitions following relegation, having also been linked with Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton and West Ham.
Norwich don’t need to sell but are expected to refresh their squad and with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic expected to impact the transfer market, a deal starting at around £20m would seem a fair price for an England U21 international.
The link to Lewis barely seems worth debating, with Stoke only just scraping to safety this season.
Has been linked with much bigger clubs but has already proved himself in the Championship, so unless decent Premier League bids arrive, it seems much more likely that City would keep their established left-back than sell him to a rival.
Sam McCallum has already been brought in from Coventry ahead of next season but he may have to compete with Lewis for the left-back berth unless there is top-flight interest in the academy product.