The truth behind Cantwell to Aston Villa rumours and when City fans should worry

Todd Cantwell in action for Norwich City in the midweek friendly against Lincoln City

Todd Cantwell in action for Norwich City in the midweek friendly against Lincoln City - Credit: Norwich City/Matthew Usher

Paranoia is gripping some clubs during this summer transfer window, says Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber. 

Like most of his analysis when it comes to recruitment, he’s right. Nobody knows what the right price is anymore as clubs adjust to the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic. 

A big deal needs to kick things off to benchmark deals lower down the chain. Whilst it appears the biggest one of all is off at the moment as Tottenham owner Daniel Levy stands strong over Harry Kane, Manchester City might just kickstart the market with a big move for Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. 

Pep Guardiola is a fan of the 25-year-old and sees him as someone who could give the champions a bit of a refresh going forward. 

This ends one of two ways for Grealish – he either signs a new deal at Villa, who are prepared to make him the highest paid player in their history, or he heads to the blue half of Manchester for anywhere between £80-100m. 

The latter could of course have huge implications for Norwich City and Todd Cantwell in particular. 

Despite all the speculation around the Dereham man over the past 18 months no club has ever officially made an approach for him. 

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However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t interest, far from it, and it is understood that if Grealish did head to the north-west this summer, then Dean Smith’s men would make their move. 

Webber and Villa chief executive Christian Purslow enjoy a good relationship, which goes back to their time together at Liverpool and Norwich. This was only strengthened by the cordial way negotiations were conducted over the sale of Emi Buendia and Norwich know the Midlands side see Cantwell as a potential Grealish replacement. However, Villa would only act if, or when, Grealish moves on. 

The situation is complicated from a City perspective by Cantwell’s contract situation. Officially he has just one year left on his contract although Norwich do have an option to extend that for another 12 months. They will of course exercise that clause should the situation play out long enough. 

Cantwell’s value is only going south from this summer on, unless of course he signs a new deal, although there are no live talks currently taking place. Relations between the Norwich hierarchy and Cantwell’s advisors could be best described as lukewarm following the negotiations around the deal he signed in 2019. 

Both Cantwell and Norwich are relaxed about the situation and at this stage City would only entertain bids over £30m. The closer it gets to August 31 the more that price increases as it gives Norwich less time to replace the academy product. 

But Villa only act if Grealish leaves... only then could there be a big decision to make for Norwich. 

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