Transfer rumours: There may be no room at the inn for target; Dijks leaving Ajax
PUBLISHED: 17:03 03 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:03 03 May 2018
Toni Leistner is no doubt hoping for some tasty summer options - but Norwich City may not currently be among them.
It was March when the 27-year-old centre-back informed Union Berlin he would not be signing a new deal, leaving him out of contract at the end of the season and looking for a challenge beyond Bundesliga II if his current side missed out on promotion.
That was all off the back of serious interest from the Canaries last summer, before sporting director Stuart Webber and head coach Daniel Farke opted to sign the man Union had earmarked as Leistner’s replacement – Marcel Franke.
However, Franke was unable to make it beyond a first month of involvement at Carrow Road and sent back to Germany on loan in January, while Leistner has maintained good form despite a season that left Union well short of finishing on a high.
As a result, reports in Germany have linked Leistner with a move to top-flight FC Cologne – although their relegation may well end those hopes – as well as Premier League-chasing Cardiff, Fulham and Aston Villa; in turn ruling Norwich out of securing his services.
While City are believed to still be interested in signing the defender – and the defender has been interested in the move – the prevalence of Farke’s current first-choice trio in Timm Klose, Grant Hanley and Christoph Zimmermann leaves little room for Leistner’s arrival.
Likewise, Leistner’s representatives are keen to ensure the best possible switch for their man rather than waiting on the possibility of moves elsewhere.
With agent Branko Panic previously saying the Bundesliga and England are “the two leagues Toni favours and where he belongs because of his achievements in the last three years”, it remains to be seen where Leistner will ply his trade next season.
There will be a similar question mark hanging over Franke. The 25-year-old could find another loan spell on the cards, given the emergence of Zimmermann as a frontline defensive option for Farke.
Franke will hope Dynamo Dresden’s penultimate Bundesliga II fixture on Sunday finally secures his home-town club’s survival.
The on-loan defender and his team-mates will head to fellow strugglers Erzgebirge Aue off the back of last weekend’s last-minute defeat at leaders Fortuna Duesseldorf.
Dresden complete their campaign at home to Union Berlin, a likely pre-season tour opponent for City this coming summer.
Meanwhile, one-time Norwich City loanee Mitchell Dijks is set to join Serie A side Bologna as a free agent this summer.
The defender who spent the second half of last season on loan at Carrow Road, has not featured for Eredivisie giants Ajax since Christmas Eve after informing them he would be leaving once his contract expired.
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