Norwich City aim to keep Wes Hoolahan out of Aston Villa’s grasp
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Norwich City’s midfield schemer Wes Hoolahan will not be joining former team-mate Grant Holt at Aston Villa.
The Canaries’ hierarchy expect Hoolahan to remain at the club in the January transfer window after Villa’s initial enquiry last week was flatly rejected. Villa offered £750,000 up front or the option of two instalments rising to a potential £1m for the Canaries’ longest-serving player, who was a key figure in the club’s double promotion-winning campaigns under former City boss and now Villans’ chief Paul Lambert.
The Scot has made no secret of his admiration for Hoolahan and his desire to bring in an attacking midfielder during the current transfer window, but there have been no further offers from Villa Park.
Hoolahan was an unused substitute in the midweek FA Cup defeat at Fulham but Chris Hughton reiterated again after his side’s Craven Cottage exit the Dubliner is part of a squad he wants to expand following this week’s loan move for Newcastle’s Jonas Gutierrez.
“At the moment our concentration is on can we add to the squad, can we improve the squad, not on letting players go out,” he said. “We’ve had a few injuries, especially in midfield, and then Michael Turner will be out for a while as well. We are trying as hard as we can (to sign players) the same as everybody else, but January is a notoriously bad time to bring in players because they also have to be right for the club.”
Lambert launched a surprise move for Hoolahan’s former team-mate Holt this week with the three-time Norwich City player-of-the-year moving to the Midlands from Wigan on loan for the rest of the season.
Holt has endured a frustrating spell at the Latics following his departure from Carrow Road but was keen to link up again with the Scot.
The well-travelled striker was a prolific goalscorer under his former boss although Lambert had been prepared to sell Holt following Norwich’s first successful season back in the Premier League.
Holt scored 17 goals in his debut top flight campaign, including a strike in the final day 2-0 home win over Aston Villa which was to prove Lambert’s swansong.
The 32-year-old slapped in a transfer request the following week before the club offered the frontman an improved deal after Lambert’s departure, but Lambert had indicated to the club’s top brass he wanted to offload Holt in the spring of that season and the relative delay in opening contract talks over a new Carrow Road deal was a factor in Holt’s shock transfer request.
The Cumbrian could now line up against his former side when Norwich travel to Villa Park on March 1 after an unexpected chance to resume his top flight career.
“To be able to come back into the Premier League, especially at a club as big as Villa, is fantastic and it’s an opportunity for me to work with the gaffer and his staff again as well,” Holt told Villa’s official site. “He’s able to get the best out of people, there’s no doubt about that.
“I know what he wants to achieve here in the long-term and I know what he expects. I know what he expects on the training ground and I’m looking forward to working with him over the coming months to try to help things along and to consolidate the club’s position.”
Norwich expect to find out the result of a Premier League tribunal into former keeper Jed Steer’s move to Villa later this week. The Canaries are entitled to compensation after he opted to link up with Lambert last summer having rejecting a new City deal.