Canaries not pursuing young Exeter winger linked to Celtic
- Credit: PA
Norwich City are not thought to be pursuing talented Exeter City winger Joel Randall following his breakthrough season in League Two.
The 21-year-old progressed through the Devon club's academy system and made his senior debut at 18 before gaining senior experience with five non-league loan stints.
Having made a handful of appearances for the Grecians, Randall forced his way into Matt Taylor's team this season and scored 10 goals and assisted five during 36 appearances in all competitions, with eight of those goals coming in the league.
Exeter just missed out on the play-offs in the fourth tier with Randall, who mostly played on the right but sometimes on the left, missing the final 12 matches with a hamstring injury.
The wide man was taken off on a stretcher after suffering that injury as he scored an early equaliser at Tranmere, which ended up in a 2-1 defeat for his team.
This morning, Football Insider claimed that Norwich and Scottish giants Celtic are interested in the Salisbury-born youngster and that Exeter have turned down a six-figure bid from Championship new boys Peterborough United.
Charlton are reported to have had three bids turned down in January, with Addicks boss at the time Lee Bowyer claiming a deal worth "around £1million" had not been enough to secure the signing.
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However, with Randall having a year left on his contract, the Grecians are said to be holding out for a bigger fee - knowing that in 12 months he could join the club of his choice, with a fee to be settled at a tribunal as he would be under 24.
As that interest emerged, Exeter boss Taylor said "we know he will be a top, top player" but also, speaking to Devon Live, admitted: "How long we can keep him within our ranks will depend on what happens this season and how the season ends, as we expect him to be a high calibre player and if he does leave us, it will be for a significant amount of money.”
The Grecians recently signed former Canaries academy winger Josh Coley from Maidenhead, which could suggest they are preparing for Randall's exit.
Exeter have developed two academy stars in recent years in England and Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins as well as Wales and Chelsea defender Ethan Ampadu, who was on loan at Sheffield United this season.
VERDICT: We understand that City are not currently pursuing a deal for Randall but his breakthrough season will of course have been noticed by scouts of Championship clubs this season.
Such interest being leaked usually involves an agent at some point, particularly with Randall only having 12 months remaining on his contract.
A speedy winger scoring 10 goals at 21 years old is likely to have come to the attention of many clubs higher in the pyramid this season, so it's quite possible City's scouts have been keeping an eye on his progress.
A player of his calibre would likely be seen as an addition to the under-23 squad initially anyway, with a loan move to a higher level than League Two likely to follow.
The Canaries have a proven track record of developing young talent thanks to the big-money sales of James Maddison, Ben Godfrey, the Murphy twins and Jamal Lewis in recent years, as well as the excellent progress of Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons.
City currently have young wingers including Tony Springett and Jon Rowe progressing in the youth ranks, with Aidan Fitzpatrick due to return from a year on loan in the Scottish Championship with Queen of the South.
An attacking midfield addition to the U23 ranks is already expected this summer, with Flynn Clarke poised to sign from Peterborough.