City face competition over loan for Villa striker

England's Cameron Archer during the UEFA European U21 Championship Qualifying match at the Proact St

England under-21s striker Cameron Archer is liked by both Norwich City and Watford. - Credit: PA

Norwich City are keen on a loan deal for Aston Villa striker Cameron Archer, but they face competition from Championship promotion rivals Watford.

City head coach Dean Smith is understood to be a fan of Archer's, having been at Villa during his development and transition from their academy to first-team football.

The Athletic report that the 20-year-old also has admirers at Vicarage Road, however, as Watford prioritise signing a central striker this summer.

The report states that another hurdle in any deal is that Steven Gerrard could yet decide to keep Archer at Villa Park, after an impressive stint on loan at Preston North End yielded seven goals in 20 appearances last season.

Any deal that sees the forward move away from Aston is therefore likely to take place later in the window, as the Liverpool legend is keen to assess him in pre-season.

Prior to Archer's move to Preston he spent a season with National League Solihull Moors, where he played 27 games and scored four goals.

The youngster made a number of impressive first-team performances under Smith, scoring a hat-trick against Barrow and netting against Chelsea before the now-Norwich boss gave him his Premier League debut in a 1-0 victory over Manchester United.

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He's also appeared four times for England's under-21 side, scoring four goals.

City are expected to utilise the loan market once again ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, with the financial constraints of relegation meaning money is tight at Carrow Road.

Sporting director Stuart Webber confirmed that departures will decide how much can be spent in his recent interview for club channels, saying: "We have the ability to do a couple of things, and then it might depend on what happens with outs.

"As always, when you go into a summer after being relegated there's uncertainty. If we sold one or two that would help us to do other things but we'll be doing some bits of business.

"What we have to understand as well is that Championship-wise we have a very strong squad, both in terms of quality and depth."