Canaries announce seven U23 players will not be getting new contracts
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League Two loanees Diallang Jaiyesimi and Mason Bloomfield are among the seven under-23 players that Norwich City have this afternoon announced will be leaving the club at the end of their contracts.
Jaiyesimi and Bloomfield have been on loan at Swindon and Crawley respectively this season, with the former potentially in line for a League Two title winner’s medal after the curtailment of the season in the fourth tier.
They will be leaving the under-23 ranks when their contracts expire on June 30 alongside Timi Odusina, Savvas Mourgos and Billy Johnson, with the exits of midfielders Tom Scully and Alfie Payne confirmed after the duo had revealed their news on social media recently.
The Canaries have been able to announce the news following the early conclusion of academy football due to the coronavirus pandemic, with all of the released players having known their fate for a while.
The U23 announcements leave just defender Sean Raggett as the only City player facing uncertainty about their future, with a one-year option on his contract which could still be activated.
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The 26-year-old has been a regular in League One for Portsmouth this season and could still have a play-off campaign ahead of him depending on how the season is settled in the third tier.
It seems likely that the option in the former Lincoln centre-back’s contract will be activated, as he could be worth money in the transfer market at the very least. However, it’s understood a decision on his future remains on the back-burner for now.
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Academy manager Steve Weaver, explaining the U23 exits, told City’s website: “We always make sure that we begin this process at the earliest opportunity and that was no different this season.
“All of the lads have been aware of the situation for some time, some even prior to the January transfer window. We want to allow the players who know they are leaving the club as much time to plan and prepare for whatever awaits them after Norwich City.
“It’s of course a tough and challenging process for all involved, but we wish all of those players leaving us the very best.”
All but one of the U23 players leaving had been out on loan this season, with former Everton midfielder Scully remaining at the club. The 20-year-old was a regular for the development team during the early stages of the season and featured in all three EFL Trophy matches.
Payne and Odusina were the only two to get close to the first team, having been important parts of the U18 team which reached the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals in 2018 - featuring as unused substitutes during a 4-0 Championship win at Sheffield Wednesday while the first team had injury problems.
Local lad Payne, a midfielder, was captain of that U18s team and has been out on loan at the second step of the non-league pyramid with King’s Lynn Town this season, making 25 appearance.
Odusina, 20, joined City as a 16-year-old having previously been on the books at Arsenal. He returned from injury to seal a National League loan in January, featuring regularly for Hartlepool prior to football’s suspension in March.
Jaiyesimi, 22, has not had the one-year option in his contract activated despite overcoming a serious knee injury to feature regularly for League Two title chasers Swindon this season, with four goals in 25 games. The Robins are waiting to hear if their season will be settled on a points-per-game basis, which will make them champions.
After joining from Dulwich Hamlet in the January of 2016, he was a regular for Grimsby in League Two during 2017-18 and then returned to the fourth tier with Yeovil, only for a bright start to be ended by a knee ligament injury.
Bloomfield is on unusual case in that he didn’t actually play a game for the club, as he joined Scottish side Hamilton on loan soon after being signed having made a handful of League Two appearances for Dagenham and Redbridge.
He was on the fringes for the Accies so joined National League side AFC Fylde in January 2019, only for a broken arm to ruin an encouraging debut. The 23-year-old striker had scored four goals in 23 games for Crawley this season.
Greek midfielder Mourgos has been troubled by injuries, having joined in 2017 after leaving Arsenal, making an impact at U23s level and even earning a comparison to Canaries legend Wes Hoolahan from U23s boss Matt Gill.
However, a serious knee injury ruined a loan to the Dutch second tier with Dordrecht last season and he struggled with injuries again after returning to Dordrecht this season, making five appearances.
The last of the seven is goalkeeper Billy Johnson, another local lad. The 20-year-old, from Beccles, signed in 2018 after impressing while with the Community Sports Foundation’s (CSF) Football and Education Programme.
Johnson had limited chances at U23 level but after impressing with two appearances in the EFL Trophy this season, he had been featuring regularly in National League South for Braintree Town this season.
City have also today confirmed that two players from the U18 squad, Anthonius Berkeley and Arash Ahmadi, will also officially leave the club on June 30.