Norwich City transfer rumours: Canaries linked with Schalke striker
- Credit: Archant
Norwich City have reportedly joined the race to sign Schalke striker Matthew Hoppe.
The 20-year-old American has been a rare bright spot in a disastrous season for the Gelsenkirchen based side who sit rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga.
Hoppe has netted five times in 15 games in the German top-flight during this campaign, including a hat-trick in their only win of the season against Hoffenheim back in January.
The striker only turned 20 last week, and is reportedly being monitored by the Canaries as they ramp up preparations for next season.
Transfermarkt.co.uk is suggesting that City are monitoring his situation as Schalke prepare for relegation to the Bundesliga Two. The report states that Hoppe has a gentlemen's agreement with his current club that would allow him to leave providing they received a bid that matches his valuation.
Dutch giants Ajax, current Premier League champions Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are also listed as clubs interested in signing Hoppe with a fee of around €7-10 million believed to be enough to secure his signature this summer.
The 20-year-old, originally from California, swapped the US for the Veltins-Arena after a season with FC Barcelona's America based academy. He became the first-ever American to score a hat-trick in the Bundesliga. His five goals arrived in only six shots on target.
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Speaking about his progress this season, US National Team coach Gregg Berhalter is expecting the striker to be handed his international debut in the near future.
"I need to continue to watch him, but it was just an amazing performance [against Hoffenheim], to be a teenager and score a hat-trick in the Bundesliga," Berhalter told ESPN.
"For him, I think it's just the beginning. Now, it's about just continuing to perform. It's not about one performance, it's about the next performance and the next performance and the next performance. And I think he's got a good mindset and he's ready to do that.
"What I saw is really good movement behind the line," explained the USA coach. "I think that was what was interesting to me that movement behind their back line. His movement in transition was excellent. The timing of it, the awareness of it. It was really high-level."
VERDICT: City already possess a young American international striker in Sebastian Soto but could be looking to bolster their frontline should they achieve promotion to the Premier League.
With Adam Idah and Jordan Hugill in support of Teemu Pukki, the Canaries may elect to add another goal-getter to their ranks to ease the burden on the Finnish international.
Hoppe looks a striker cut in a similar mould to Pukki and has top-flight pedigree and substantial potential to grow into should he arrive at Carrow Road. City would face competition for his signature and may need to guarantee first-team football.
This is an intriguing link at an interesting time. City's recruitment team have begun preparations for next season and Germany has been a popular market for them since Daniel Farke and Stuart Webber arrived at the club.
The Canaries will look to seize upon opportunities in the market from clubs who may be under financial constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic or have dropped divisions.
Hoppe would certainly fit the profile that City consider when recruiting fresh talent.