Vrancic expects to stay with City but admits interest from Germany
PUBLISHED: 14:34 06 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:59 06 August 2020
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Mario Vrancic says he expects to remain with Norwich City following relegation to the Championship but also admits he’s aware of Bundesliga interest in his services.
The 31-year-old midfielder, currently on holiday in Croatia, spoke to Dnevni Avaz, one of the best-selling newspapers in his homeland of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Vrancic has entered the final 12 months of his Canaries contract after a frustrating season on the fringes of City’s disappointing relegation campaign in the Premier League.
He made 20 appearances in the top flight but just six of those were starts after pre-season and much of the first half of his campaign was disrupted by a calf injury.
The former Paderborn and Darmstadt playmaker said of his future: “I have another year of contract with Norwich and I think I will stay. However, you know how it is in this business, you never know everything in advance.”
Asked if he was aware of interest from Arminia Bielefeld, who have been promoted to the German top flight as champions of Bundesliga Two, Vrancic added: “I also heard that they are interested in me, but first I decided to go on vacation, and then I will see what and how to proceed.”
The interview follows on swiftly from a report from Football Insider, which added Vrancic’s name to the more widely reported group of players who could be leaving City this summer: Moritz Leitner, Tom Trybull and Josip Drmic.
However, it’s understood the classy midfielder being included in that group of players who could move on is incorrect at this stage of the Canaries’ planning for their Championship return.
Vrancic was a heroic figure during the club’s title triumph in the second tier in 2018-19, with 10 goals and seven assists from 36 games, including a brilliant long-range strike which sealed promotion during a win against Blackburn.
He also scored twice in the pivotal 3-1 win at Leeds during the second half of the season, curled in a last gasp free-kick to earn an important 2-2 draw against Sheffield Wednesday at Carrow Road and slotted the winner at Aston Villa which sealed the Championship title.
His frustrations in the Premier League however were compounded by a cruel VAR decision in December, having scored the opener against Tottenham as he made his first league start of the season, with a wonderful assist for a Teemu Pukki goal which would have made it 2-0 ruled out for the most marginal of offside decisions that left City fans furious - in an eventual 2-2 draw.
Prior to joining Norwich he had played a pivotal role in Paderborn being promoted to the Bundesliga in 2014 but was unable to help prevent relegation in 2015 so joined newly promoted Darmstadt.
He helped the Lilies retain their top-flight status in 2016 but left for Norwich after relegation the following year, in a deal reportedly worth around £650,000.
Of City’s relegation, also describing the season resuming behind closed doors as a “disaster”, Vrancic said: “I think we were close in the new year and then we just got lost.
“We have a very young team and that is normal. We also had too many injury problems.”
He was also asked about his international future with Bosnia & Herzegovina but simply said: “I’m always ready.”
That follows his first call-up since March 2017 during last season, when he was in squads for European Championship qualifiers against Finland and Italy but remained an unused substitute, not getting the change to add to his six caps.
Vrancic is originally from the town of Brod, near the border between Croatia and Bosnia. He has previously spoken about his family fleeing the Bosnian war, which saw him arrive in Germany as a refugee at the age of five years old.
He was capped up to under-20 level by Germany after coming through the youth system at Mainz, before opting to represent his homeland.