City set to raid Ipswich for talented midfielder

Liam Gibbs in action during the Town U18s 3-1 win over Swindon Town in the FA Youth Cup Picture: Ros

Liam Gibbs in action during Ipswich Town U18s' win over Swindon in the FA Youth Cup last season - Credit: Ross Halls

Norwich City are set to sign talented youngster Liam Gibbs from local rivals Ipswich Town, after the midfielder turned down a contract offer from the Tractor Boys. 

As reported last month, Ipswich were bracing themselves for the loss of the 18-year-old due to interest from several Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Aston Villa and Leeds.

Ipswich will receive a compensation fee for the homegrown youngster, who has been at Portman Road since he was eight.

The central midfielder has only made four senior appearances for Town but was a key part of the under-18 team which reached the FA Youth Cup semi-finals last season, which came to an end against Liverpool at Portman Road. 

Gibbs is from Bury St Edmunds and has been involved in the academy at Ipswich since his early years. 

Three of his senior appearances were in the EFL Trophy but he did start a League One game last season as well prior to Paul Lambert’s departure as first-team manager, playing 64 minutes of a 2-0 home defeat to Charlton.  

Former Canaries winger and Wigan manager Paul Cook took charge in March and could only guide the Blues to ninth and a third consecutive year in the third tier. 

Cook is ringing the changes at senior level but Gibbs has opted to join Norwich, where City can boast the academy success of players including Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis in recent years. 

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He signed his first professional contract in December of 2019 and after turning down a new deal, compensation will be due to Ipswich, which could be settled by a tribunal if the clubs can’t come to an agreement. 

Speaking about Gibbs last season, former Canaries boss Lambert said: “He’s a really good player, a really talented footballer.

“But as I’ve said before, I say it every time, he needs a little bit of time to develop and there’s no pressure.

“He’s really clever with the ball, he’s a really intelligent player. You only really need to tell him something once and he takes it in.

“That’s the sign of a good player, when they take it in first time then you know you’ve got a really good player on your hands. But again, without getting carried away, he has got a chance.”

Charlton Athletic's Paul Smyth (left) and Ipswich Town's Liam Gibbs battle for the ball during the S

Liam Gibbs in League One action for Ipswich in November 2020 - Credit: PA

Gibbs would become the third addition to the under-23 squad announced by City so far this summer, after the additions of attacking midfielder Flynn Clarke from Peterborough and striker Kenny Coker from Southend.

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