Exclusive: Canaries reject Bristol City's seven-figure bid for winger
PUBLISHED: 08:30 25 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:30 25 January 2018
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Bristol City are believed to have seen a seven-figure bid rejected for out of favour Norwich City winger Marley Watkins.
The 27-year-old only joined the Canaries as a free agent in the summer, following the expiry of his contract at Championship rivals Barnsley.
Watkins turned down Ipswich and the Robins to complete his move to Norfolk, however he has struggled to make an impact in the first few months of his City career.
In fact he now finds himself out of favour with Canaries head coach Daniel Farke, who has questioned the forward’s recent attitude.
And it is understood from sources in the West Country that Watkins remains a man in demand, with a Bristol City bid in excess of £1m turned down by Norwich earlier in the month – as well as the Tykes reportedly interested in Watkins’ return to Oakwell.
With the promotion-chasing Robins struggling for Championship goals and winless in seven games – including a home defeat to Norwich less than a fortnight ago – it remains to be seen whether manager Lee Johnson will return with another offer to take Watkins west, before the January transfer window closes at 11pm on Wednesday.
Norwich City are already set to recruit a winger and a striker during the January transfer window, with Onel Hernandez on the brink of completing his move from Eintracht Braunschweig and Paderborn forward Dennis Srbeny closing in on a permanent Canaries switch.
Augsburg’s German midfielder Moritz Leitner is also in line to join Norwich on loan, making it a trio of new faces for the rest of the season signed within a matter of days.
That also points a need for Watkins to remain at Norwich, given EFL rules require each matchday squad of 18 to include seven homegrown players – effectively with three years registered at an English or Welsh club before they reach 21.
A handful of German imports this window, and City will need to be careful of a rule many supporters may have ignored up to now.
Watkins has scored one Carabao Cup goal in 21 City appearances this summer – foot-noted by a wonderful striker against Brighton in pre-season, a needless red card at Reading and his best impact as a half-time substitute in the comeback home Championship win over Sheffield Wednesday.
However, it remains to be seen when Watkins will be given the chance to add to those tallies after Marley Watkins fell out of favour with Daniel Farke – as the German revealed on Friday ahead of Norwich City’s home defeat to Sheffield United.
“I was not content with recent performances or his performance on the training pitch,” said Farke.
“He understands the message and now it is up to him to show he is ready. We support all the players and bring them to the door, but they must go through it.”
Bristol City also have their hands full keeping an already close-knit squad together, having fended off a reported £6m bid from Premier League Brighton for influential centre-back Aden Flint.
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