Norwich City sign Marley Watkins

Marley Watkins is Norwich City's first signing under new head coach Daniel Farke. Picture: jasonpix

Marley Watkins is Norwich City's first signing under new head coach Daniel Farke. Picture: jasonpix - Credit: Archant

Marley Watkins is the first signing of the Daniel Farke era after the Canaries confirmed a deal to sign the attacker on a free transfer.

Watkins will officially become a Norwich player when his current Barnsley contract expires at the end of the month after agreeing a three-year City deal, with the option of a further year.

The 26-year-old, who earned his first call up to the Welsh international squad last week for their upcoming World Cup qualifer in Serbia, rejected interest from a number of Championship clubs.

City’s East Anglian rivals, Ipswich Town, reportedly had two bids turned down in the January transfer window for Watkins, who was a key figure in the Reds’ rise from League One and impressive Championship bow.

“Norwich is a club with ambitions to be in the Premier League so I’m really happy to have made this decision,” Watkins told the club’s official site.

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“Everything is in place at Norwich to be successful. I’m really excited to be joining a project at a team whose ambitions match my own. I want to work hard and to show passion for the team. Every year in your career is important but this is a really exciting time for me. I want to make sure I deliver and that I’m successful.

“Competition makes you better so it’s about trying to out-work everyone else. I’ll be as dedicated as possible and keep striving. I’ll be looking to play and to improve the team.

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“Barnsley was a great club and I’ll have nothing but fond memories. Now it’s just about aiming as high as possible. I feel like Norwich are one of the best teams on paper and they have high ambitions. They want to be in the Premier League, which is where every player wants to be. I’m really happy to make this decision and excited to be joining the project.”

City’s new head coach Farke is well aware of Watkins’ potential.

“Marley played brilliantly last season and is proven at this level,” he said. “He scored ten goals and got nine assists, and can play either as a forward or on the wing. He’s physical and a good character who gives us another option in attack. I’m really looking forward to working with him.”

The former Swansea City trainee, who can operate on either flank or down the middle and scored 10 goals in 45 appearances last season, turned down the chance of a new contract at Oakwell.

Watkins was on target against City sporting director Stuart Webber’s former club, Huddersfield, in a 1-1 Championship draw back in February. Prior to joining Barnsley he spent two years with Inverness and scored at Hampden Park in a Scottish Cup final win over Falkirk.

Barnsley released a statement on their official site thanking Watkins for his service.

“We can today confirm that Marley Watkins has agreed terms to join Norwich City. Having turned down a contract offer at Oakwell, Watkins expressed his desire to explore other options available to him and has now committed his future to the Canaries.

“We would like to thank Marley for his efforts during his time with Barnsley football club. The winger played a big role in two memorable Wembley victories throughout the 2015/16 season before further helping the club with 10 goals during the 2016/17 season, ensuring a solid return to Championship football. Everyone connected with the Club would like to wish Marley success in his career moving forward.”

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