Former Wednesday and Swansea boss in surprise link to Norwich

Carlos Carvalhal, pictured during Sheffield Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Norwich at Carrow Road in Decemb

Carlos Carvalhal, pictured during Sheffield Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Norwich at Carrow Road in December 2017, a few weeks before he left the Owls Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Reports in Portugal suggesting Norwich City have made informal contact with Rio Ave boss Carlos Carvalhal are understood to be totally wide of the mark.

The former Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea manager is in charge of Portuguese club Rio Ave, who sit sixth in the Primeira Liga table after a 2-1 home defeat to leaders Benfica on Wednesday.

National newspaper Record report that the 54-year-old is keen to return to England when his contract expires at the end of the season, having taken charge last summer.

It is also claimed that “informal contacts” have been made by the Canaries but that Carvalhal is happy for his name to be circulating, to see which other clubs would be interested in his services.

However, it would appear that the Portuguese coach’s representatives are taking advantage of City’s slim survival chances, sitting bottom of the Premier League with eight games remaining after a 3-0 home defeat to Southampton on Friday.

In spite of that position, Canaries fans are well aware that head coach Daniel Farke has the full backing of the board at Carrow Road and sporting director Stuart Webber, who brought the German to the club in 2017.

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Farke and Webber masterminded a turnaround in fortunes despite having to cut costs drastically to keep the Canaries’ finances in a stable position, with their team roaring to the Championship title in 2019.

Farke signed a new deal shortly before that success was sealed, extending terms until 2022 alongside his backroom staff, and Webber followed suit in September when he also signed a new deal until 2022.

The Welshman did indicate at the time that he is planning to take on a new challenge when that deal expires and Farke has regularly been linked with being a potential Borussia Dortmund head coach of the future, having joined City after success with the second team of the German giants.

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Yet while the disappointment of this season’s struggles so far may be fresh, there is little expectation that relegation would prompt drastic changes at Carrow Road, with the self-funded club always budgeting for dropping back down to the Championship - despite obviously hoping they could defy the odds.

Carvalhal had relatively brief spells at Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas, among the many clubs he has coached, and led Sheffield Wednesday to the Championship play-offs in both 2016 and 2017.

Both seasons saw the Owls build a reputation as a strong defensive team but having had plenty of money to spend, a 1-0 defeat to Hull in the final at Wembley was followed by a loss on penalties to Huddersfield in the semi-finals in his second season, leading to him departing by mutual consent in December 2017 with Wednesday 15th in the table.

He bounced back quickly and got a Premier League gig with Swansea, but after an initial upturn in results he was unable to prevent relegation and left the club in May 2018.

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