Norwich City transfer rumours: Championship duo linked as Premier League options

PUBLISHED: 10:38 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:52 30 April 2019

Semi Ajayi, left, in action against Norwich City at Carrow Road earlier this season 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Semi Ajayi, left, in action against Norwich City at Carrow Road earlier this season Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Two Championship stars are among a host of players to be linked with Norwich City following promotion to the Premier League being sealed.

Rotherham midfielder Semi Ajayi and Brentford defender Yoann Barbet have both been suggested as potential summer signings for the Canaries.

French newspaper L'equipe claim Barbet is being tracked by Norwich and top-flight rivals Wolves, as well as Leeds and clubs in France including Montpellier and Angers – ahead of his contract expiring this summer.

The 25-year-old is left footed and can play full-back or in central defence, scoring once in 37 games for mid-table Championship side Brentford this season.

He scored three goals last season and is renowned for liking a shot at goal from distance, including from free-kicks, with only five other Bees players attempting more than his 27 shots so far this season – although only seven have been target, according to WhoScored.com.

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Ajayi could be another affordable option, as one of the bright lights amid Rotherham's unsuccessful battle against the drop.

Yoann Barbet, right, in action for Brentford against Norwich City at Griffin Park earlier this season 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesYoann Barbet, right, in action for Brentford against Norwich City at Griffin Park earlier this season Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

The 25-year-old former Charlton and Arsenal trainee stands at 6ft 4ins tall and has played as a centre-back and in defensive midfield this season.

Nigerian football website Sports247.ng claim he has an offer from Norwich but is also considering Championship interest, following the Millers' relegation, with the Londoner having Nigerian family roots.

Ajayi has started all 48 of Rotherham's games in league and cup so far this season, scoring eight goals. Six of those game in five matches – including a strike from the edge of the box during a 2-1 home loss to Norwich – and earned him the Championship Player of the Month award for March.

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The powerful midfielder has also become an international this season, earning six caps for Nigeria, and Millers boss Paul Warne – who is from Norfolk originally and supports Norwich – admits it's unlikely the South Yorkshire club will be able to keep their prized asset.

“I'm really pleased for him,” Warne told the Rotherham Advertiser. “When I brought him to the club a couple of years ago, he was definitely raw around the edges, but we always thought that if we could polish him a little bit he would become a great player.

“He's a great kid. He's always smiling, he's always positive.”

He continued: “Obviously I don't want Semi to leave. But if I took off my manager's hat and looked it at from a personal point of view, do I want him to go on and play as high as he can and have the best life he can? Of course I do.

“That's why our recruitment is key. You have to bring in other players, and hopefully the fans believe in what we're trying to do. If players do move on for sizeable fees and we can reinvest the money ... well, that's just how football is.

“If it works for both parties that he then moves on, he goes with my love.”

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