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Norwich City boss Chris Hughton has brushed off speculation linking Wes Hoolahan with a January transfer window exit to Aston Villa. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Speculation about Wes Hoolahan’s Norwich City future is reignited as Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert talks of his need for a “specialist attacking midfielder”

Monday, January 6, 2014
10.11 AM

Norwich City fans hoping Wes Hoolahan will remain at Carrow Road have been given fresh reason to worry after Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert spoke of his desire to sign an attacking midfielder.

Paul Lambert congratulates Wes Hoolahan of Norwich at the end of the Barclays Premier League match against Bolton at Carrow Road stadium, Norwich, in February 2012. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd.Paul Lambert congratulates Wes Hoolahan of Norwich at the end of the Barclays Premier League match against Bolton at Carrow Road stadium, Norwich, in February 2012. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd.

Speculation that the 31-year-old Ireland international could be on his way to Villa for a fee in the region of £1.5m surfaced in national newspapers at the end of last week.

Fears that Hoolahan’s time with the Canaries could be coming to an end were ramped up further on Saturday when the tricky midfielder was left out of Chris Hughton’s side for their FA Cup third round clash with Fulham.

But Hughton said after the 1-1 stalemate that Hoolahan had reported an injury in training the day before the game, saying: “It was nothing to do with being linked with other clubs.”

But former City boss Lambert has reignited the speculation after talking about his need to sign a player very much in the Hoolahan mould following his side’s embarrassing 2-1 home defeat to League One Sheffield United in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert during his side's FA Cup Third Round defeat to Sheffield United at Villa Park on Saturday. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire.Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert during his side's FA Cup Third Round defeat to Sheffield United at Villa Park on Saturday. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire.

“We don’t have a specialist attacking midfielder - I call them number 10s,” Lambert said.

“Players who are prepared to take a chance and take risks are important. If you can get somebody like that in your side, they can make things happen.

“We don’t have that special type of player who knows how to get into little pockets on the pitch and create chances.

“They’re worth their weight in gold if you can get them - and pretty dear!”

Hoolahan has played 206 times for the Canaries in a hugely successful spell since joining in the summer of 2008, scoring 35 goals and helping City rise from League One to the Premier League with back-to-back promotions.

He extended his contract with the Canaries through to the summer of 2015 in December 2012 but has found himself in and out of Hughton’s starting line-up this season.

Related links

RUMOUR MILL: Norwich City’s Wes Hoolahan the subject of £1.5m Aston Villa enquiry

Chris Hughton will not have sleepless nights over Wes Hoolahan transfer talk