Norwich City Rumour Mill: QPR left-back a potential summer target

Ryan Manning, left, challenging Josh Murphy during QPR's 4-1 win over Norwich at Loftus Road in Apri

Ryan Manning, left, challenging Josh Murphy during QPR's 4-1 win over Norwich at Loftus Road in April 2018 Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City are reportedly among the clubs tracking Queens Park Rangers left-back Ryan Manning but face competition from Premier League sides West Ham and Watford.

That’s according to Football Insider, who claim the trio of clubs have noticed the Irishman’s successful transition into a full-back under QPR boss Mark Warburton this season.

The website reports that interest from top-flight sides Everton, Newcastle and Wolves has cooled and that Manning will be available for less than £5million as he has entered the final 12 months of his contract with the Rs.

Manning, a former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, has scored two goals and assisted seven in 39 games for Rangers so far this season - with a mid-table finish already secured with two games remaining.

Previously however, including during an 18-game stint at Rotherham last season, he has mostly been used as a midfielder.

The one-year option in his contract was activated in February at the same time as another player who has been linked to Norwich, winger Bright Osayi-Samuel, with director of football Les Ferdinand saying negotiations over new contracts would continue.

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Manning has scored for Norwich already, inadvertently, when tackling Josh Murphy at Loftus Road in a Championship game in April 2018. That gave City the lead but Manning eventually capped off a 4-1 win for QPR when he headed in the final goal.

He played on the left wing that day, as he did when the Rs were thrashed 4-0 at Carrow Road in 2016-17, in his only other appearance against the Canaries.

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VERDICT: City would only be in the market for a left-back if Jamal Lewis were to be sold, which doesn’t appear a foregone conclusion with the club’s time in the Premier League coming to an end.

That’s due to the arrival of Sam McCallum from Coventry, who was signed in January in a deal reportedly worth up to £3.5million before returning to the Sky Blues and winning the League One title.

Sam Byram was also impressing at left-back before his injury problems and both Caleb Richards and Belgian youth international Rob Nizet are already in the academy ranks. Philip Heise is also due to return from a loan spell with Nuernberg in the German second tier.

Manning does have plenty of Championship experience, has only just turned 24 and Norwich are expected to be able to spend some money after relegation, particularly if some of their young talent is sold for big money.

Yet he is the first left-back the Canaries have been linked to in recent months and talk of interest in Northern Ireland international Lewis has dried up, despite links to Liverpool and Tottenham earlier in the season and rumours of interest from clubs including Crystal Palace and West Ham previously.

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