Norwich City transfer rumours: Barcelona want to sell forward

Denmark's Martin Braithwaite during the UEFA Nations League, Group B4 match at Ceres Park, Aarhus. P

Denmark and Barcelona forward Martin Braithwaite - Credit: Simon Cooper/PA Wire

Norwich City are among the Premier League clubs being linked with Barcelona forward Martin Braithwaite in Spain, as the La Liga giants try to sell the Denmark international.

Barcelona-based newspaper Diario Sport claim that West Ham, Brighton and Burnley are joined by Norwich in showing top-flight interest from England, as well as an unnamed Russian club.

That's despite Braithwaite previously struggling to make an impact in England, joining Middlesbrough for a reported £9million from Toulouse in the summer of 2017, after Boro had been relegated from the Premier League.

He managed six goals in 21 games before returning to France for a loan at Bordeaux and then three in 19 games after returning to his parent club's Championship mix under Tony Pulis during 2018-19 - playing alongside Norwich players Ben Gibson and Jordan Hugill during his time in Teesside.

The 30-year-old is currently playing at the Euros for Denmark and has played almost every minute as his nation qualified from their group to set up a last-16 clash with Wales, although he has been used primarily as a winger.

Braithwaite's career took a surprise and high-profile turn in early 2020 when he joined Barcelona in unusual circumstances.

Boro had loaned him to Spanish side Leganes in January 2019 initially - amid reports the player made it clear he wanted to leave - and five goals in 20 games were enough for that to be made permanent, reportedly for between £4million and £5m.

Most Read

Eight goals in 27 games for Leganes during the first half of 2019-20 saw Barca turn to Braithwaite after the January transfer window had closed, being given special dispensation to make a forward signing after a serious injury to Ousmane Dembele.

He reportedly joined the Catalan giants for around £15m and signed a four-and-a-half-year contract but has mostly been used as a substitute, scoring eight goals in 54 matches, with his spell at Camp Nou disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Diario Sport claim Barcelona have no need for Braithwaite any longer after the high-profile free transfers of forwards Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay, and that he is not expected to return to Ronald Koeman's squad for pre-season.

With a delicate financial situation currently for the four-time Champions League winners, the report adds that they intend to reclaim as much of the £15m fee spent on Braithwaite as possible.

VERDICT: Canaries fans have already been reminded of just how many transfer links emerge after a club is promoted to the Premier League, with around 50 players linked already - with two months of the transfer window remaining.

Our understanding is that Norwich are not trying to sign Braithwaite.

There are a few reasons why City supporters will have been immediately sceptical of this latest speculation, with the fee and wages likely to be involved immediately making Norwich unlikely to be interested.

At 30 years old, Braithwaite also doesn't fit the model of signing players with potential for growth and future re-sale value if successful, as is crucial for a self-funded club.

His unconvincing stint in the Championship and nomadic career also count against him but perhaps more pertinent is the arrival of Milot Rashica from Werder Bremen this week.

The Kosovo international is a winger with plenty of experience as a striker, which was a criteria that City were believed to be keen on to bolster the forward department which led Daniel Farke's squad to the Championship title.

Had that deal not just been completed, for around £8million initially, then perhaps interest in Braithwaite could have been taken more seriously.

If academy product Todd Cantwell were to follow Emi Buendia in making a big-money exit then the Canaries would need another attacking option but there are yet to be any reports of interest in the 23-year-old.

The more immediate priorities would appear to be at least one central midfielder and a centre-back addition, with the start of pre-season now less than a fortnight away for most of Farke's players.

MORE: City cool interest in Ajer

- You can hear all the latest City transfer news and views in our Window Watch video, on this website at 1pm today

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus