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Tottenham: Portugal star linked; still unsure on N’Koudou; Pritchard joins Norwich

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Spurs fans waiting for another signing could be satisfied in the coming days following links to Portugal midfielder Rafa Silva.

Mauricio Pochettino has reportedly been following the Braga star for over a year now, and his contribution to Portugal’s Euro 2016 victory will have surely piqued the manager’s interest.

The 23-year-old Silva mainly features on the left wing, but has made appearances on the right as well as the occasional cameo as a number 10. Many see his future in that more central role, as his surging runs into the box and clinical finishing make him the ideal candidate for playing just off the striker.

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Silva faces stern competition in that position should he move to Spurs, with Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli almost nailed on for that role after their performances last season.

Rumours of Nacer Chadli’s departure will leave Spurs in desperate need of cover across the front line, and Silva will be able to fill that role adeptly.

While he is not the complete player at this point in time, the 23-year-old may quickly acclimatise to the Premier League, and for the £10 million fee rumoured, it wouldn’t be the worst gamble to take.

The seemingly never-ending Georges-Kevin N’Koudou transfer saga could be coming to a conclusion soon, but not in the way Spurs fans would have been hoping for. The deal could be called off with chairman Daniel Levy reportedly attempting to alter the terms of the transfer agreement.

Allegedly, the Spurs camp is concerned that the 21-year-old hasn’t been participating in training. Marseille claim it is routine practice so as to avoid an injury before the transfer, but that hasn’t stopped Levy from trying to add a clause to lower the transfer fee if the winger picks up an injury.

Tottenham’s pre-season training is particularly rigorous, so if the transfer went ahead, N’Koudou may find himself behind the curve.

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To further complicate matters, Clinton N’Jie will likely move the other way as part of the deal, but has not actually received his visa to work in France.

The deal could go through, but there are several more hurdles for the clubs to jump over before it crosses the finish line.

Moving onto departures, academy graduate Alex Pritchard has completed a move to Norwich City for an undisclosed fee.  The 23-year-old made just two Premier League appearances for Spurs during his time at the club, but did impress at championship level on loan, claiming Brentford’s Players Player of the Year and a place in the Championship’s Team of the Year in 2014/15.

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Pritchard failed to make an impact in a white shirt, but youth graduates succeeding in other leagues is a testament to the quality of the set up at White Hart Lane, and the undisclosed fee will certainly contribute to bringing more players to the Lane.

Featured image: All rights reserved by Mathieu

Will also contributes to Football Ticket Net, his choice for Spurs tickets

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Wolves at risk of losing talented youngster Cameron John

The talented teenager could leave Molineux Stadium this summer.

Josh Kerr

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Talented youngster Cameron John is still yet to make his Wolverhampton Wanderers debut and the youngster is reportedly growing frustrated with his lack of game-time.

According to the Daily Mail (live transfer blog, 23/05/2018 10.50am), John is in the last year of his contract with the Midland’s side and the Premier League new boys are willing to listen to offers.

Despite not making a senior appearance at the Molineux Stadium, the 18-year-old is still hot property and a number of clubs are preparing to swoop for him.

A talented centre-back, who can also play on the left side of defence, John has impressed Scott Sellars’ in his Under-23 side over the past season and he may be rewarded with a move this summer that will see him rewarded with greater senior opportunities.

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Brighton, Stoke City and Norwich City are all showing an interest in the Wolves’ young centre-back and could make an imminent swoop.

The Championship would suit John more than the Premier League and Brighton have also recently signed Leon Balogun from Bundesliga club Mainz, meaning the south coast side may not see John as a potential starter, but rather an addition to strengthen their squad.

Also, Wolves are close to announcing Willy Boly on a permanent deal, which could be a message to John that he is not in manager Nuno’s long-term plans. Therefore, a move to Gary Rowett’s Stoke or Daniel Farke’s Norwich seems most likely.

It would be a surprising move for Wolves to allow one of their best talents to leave the club. However, with heavy summer investments imminent, the club are more likely to be focused on bringing ready-made Premier League players to the Midlands, which could mean the youngster is better-suited finding first-team football elsewhere.

At only 18 years of age, John undoubtedly has a bright future and the growing interest of teams only showcases the raw talent that he possesses. He is a talented youngster, but he finds himself at a crossroads in his career, and it will be interesting to see what will follow with his next move.

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English Premier League

Marcus Edwards is struggling at Norwich, but so did Harry Kane

The 19-year-old Tottenham Hotspur talent is still waiting to have an impact at Carrow Road.

Mathew Nash

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Tottenham Hotspur have high hopes for their talented attacking midfielder Marcus Edwards. The 19-year-old has long been one of the names on the tip of Tottenham fans tongues when it comes to talent at the club. Back in 2016 Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino likened him to his compatriot Lionel Messi – high praise.

In January Edwards was sent out on loan to Championship side Norwich City to get some first-team experience. The idea was that Edwards would get plenty of football at Carrow Road and highlight his obvious talent. Unfortunately for the teenager and Tottenham that has not been the case.

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND – JANUARY 27: Daniel Farke, Head Coach of Norwich City looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Norwich City at Griffin Park on January 27, 2018 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Getty Images)

Edwards is still waiting for his debut for the Canaries. Norwich boss Daniel Farke has criticised his lack of work off the ball. Not long after completing the signing, Farke was quoted by the Eastern Daily Press as stating:

“There is no doubt with the ball he is one of our best players. But without it, he has to grow up a bit.

“That was the reason he didn’t play for Tottenham.”

But Edwards should not be too put off if his spell at Norwich proves unsuccessful. It would not be the first time a top Tottenham talent has struggled on loan at Carrow Road. Just ask Harry Kane.

Kane joined Norwich on loan at the end of August in 2012, with the Canaries then in the Premier League. Kane played just five times for the club before he was recalled by Spurs.

NORWICH, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: David Silva of Manchester City and Harry Kane of Norwich City tussle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Manchester City at Carrow Road on December 29, 2012 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Instead of letting his Norwich nightmare get him down, Kane dusted himself and got to work. The next season was his breakthrough Tottenham campaign. With 134 goals in 204 games for the club since, Kane certainly did not let the failed Norwich loan spell hold him back.

Edwards has been praised for a change in his attitude this week by Farke and perhaps he will get a chance for Norwich before the end of the season.

If not, he can look at the example set by Kane and realise a failed loan spell can be as much a learning curve as a successful one.

Tottenham fans should also remember as much, and back Edwards when he does return to Tottenham in the summer.

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Norwich City

A project is underway at Norwich City, but is it the right one?

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Norwich City
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Outsiders looking in at Norwich City would say this has been a season of regression and underachievement at Carrow Road.

Yet, as the financial implications of relegation from the Premier League linger should Norwich fail to gain promotion – which seems increasingly likely – times are tough off the field in NR1.

Amidst all this financial pressure, the need to cut cloth has been graphically displayed through the departure of four senior players for substantial fees.

In truth, Norwich is in the process of a transition.

Previously, the club has been spearheaded by an omnipotent chief executive who oversaw everything from the football recruitment to how the club is run day to day.

Now, Norwich have adopted a more continental approach to their footballing structure, installing Stuart Webber as Sporting Director, who subsequently appointed Borussia Dortmund II coach Daniel Farke as his Head Coach.

Farke arrived in Norfolk with a label of being a progressive coach who developed young talent, playing a possession based style in the process.

He was met with a reality check as to the brutality and physicality of the division, and adeptly transformed Norwich into an outfit that could grind out results. Yet, defeat to Arsenal in the Carabao Cup saw this team endure a terrible run of form which was only halted at Christmas.

This is an experiment. A rebuild the scale of which hasn’t been seen in NR1 before and, in all honesty, it is an entirely unpredictable entity.

This season supporters have felt apathy, pride and disappointed. This was supposed to be a season of improvement and progression. Instead, this team seems to be stagnating in the division whilst selling its prized asset.

The reality is Norwich is self funding and whilst the current regime is in place, the reality is Norwich will have to sell their top talent in order to progress. See Alex Pritchard, Jonny Howson and Jacob Murphy. The parameters of the debate surrounding the current top brass at Carrow Road are there to be argued all day long.

What is abundantly clear is that Norwich need to ensure they are prepared for the difficulties lying ahead and reducing the wage bill by half, whilst attempting to fill a £30 million hole in the finances with the sales of top talent, is both logical and necessary.

Whilst the squad has changed dramatically, there is still a sense that Farke hasn’t formed a side which is capable of applying his intricate philosophy. In terms of recruitment thus far, Webber and Farke have prioritised steading a backline which leaked profusely last campaign.

With the experience of Grant Hanley and the insurgence of Christoph Zimmermann, Norwich’s reargued is a more balanced and reliable unit. Now attentions have been turned onto the other end of the pitch as Norwich’s toothless nature has been seen all too often.

When James Maddison’s reliable radar is astray, Norwich looks inept and devoid of any imagination. Offensively, the Canaries require differentiation in regards to how they offensively approach games. Norwich must retain the services of the young Englishman to keep this upward mobility discovered prior to Sheffield United.

Everything offensively positive has come through Maddison.

This is a side lacking athleticism and pace in wide areas, but also lack a striker who fits perfectly into Farke’s style.

With more bodies incoming in the days approaching, Farke should have a deeper squad at his disposal alongside some funds to recruit talent with the money gained from Pritchard’s sale.

This philosophy is still in the early days of construction. The frameworks and apparatus are still being put into place with Webber ensuring the academy is improved and there is a clear pathway for young players, like Jamal Lewis, to step up and play in the first team.

A pathway through the loan system has also been established. For a club with increasingly limited resources, Norwich will become reliant on their academy in regards to making money and improving the first team.

So where is Norwich at present?

Considering the change which has occurred from top to bottom at this football club and the constraints of the financial straitjacket in which Farke has had to operate, alongside seeing four instrumental players leaving in his first six month in charge, Norwich are left with a disjointed squad. However, Farke is doing a good job.

He has displayed he has the qualities and tactical nous to take this football club forward, and that he buys into the long term project in place. His reliance on young players will be of benefit to the football club in the long-term, while he looks set to ensure the academy is prosperous for the future.

This is a project, and one Norwich need to stick with.

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