Transfer latest: No deal close for Robbie Brady, as Norwich City boss Alex Neil eyes Martin Olsson replacement
PUBLISHED: 15:37 17 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:37 17 January 2017
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Interest in the January signing of Robbie Brady has continued but manager Alex Neil insists no deal is close to being agreed.
Premier League sides Burnley and Sunderland look to be the front-runners for the Republic of Ireland international, who can play at left-back or on the left wing.
However the 25-year-old is not on the verge of leaving, despite media reports of bids of £10million and above already being lodged.
“There’s obviously been teams interested in Robbie but we’re not anywhere near a deal with anybody,” Canaries boss Alex Neil said at this pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup clash with Southampton – also saying he is not expecting to make any signings in the next 48 hours.
“I’m not going to go into the nuts and bolts of it but the point of it is there’s no deal for Robbie Brady anywhere near done.
“That’s what I’d say and you can pick the bones out of that whatever way you like.”
Neil also suggested the former Hull City wide man will play at St Mary’s tomorrow night, following today’s confirmation of Martin Olsson’s transfer to Swansea, for a reported £4.5m.
When it was suggested that City may want to avoid Brady becoming cup-ties, Neil responded: “Cup-tied for who, he’s a Norwich City player? My responsibility in my job is to look after Norwich City, Robbie Brady is a Norwich City player and will be utilised as a Norwich City player to the best use of Norwich City.”
With temporary left-back Steven Whittaker also nursing a tight hamstring ahead of the game, Neil is facing an injury crisis and has little choice but to use Brady – following the completion of his three-match ban for his controversial red card in the 0-0 draw at Brentford on New Year’s Eve.
“I think you’re always going to miss one of your top players and Robbie is certainly one of our top players,” he added. “So when he’s not available, of course you want him available because he’s a real asset to us.”
With Olsson’s exit confirmed ahead of the press conference, Neil said he felt the club had done well to achieve a good fee for the Sweden international, persuading him to sign a new contract recently to prevent him from leaving on a free transfer this summer.
“I think obviously Martin has been here for a number of years, we were in a situation with Martin where we managed to get him a new contract because inevitably in the summer we would have lost him for nothing,” he continued.
“I think the bit of business that has been done, for both parties, for Martin and the club, has been very good – certainly from our point of view.”
The 28-year-old made 129 appearances across four seasons for the Canaries but makes a return to the Premier League with Swansea with Neil’s blessing, as he eyes signing a replacement.
“I can only really reflect on the time that I had him. I think Martin was a good lad, on his day he was a very good player, a good left-back,” the City boss added.
“Like all players you have your ups and downs but the memories I’ve got of Martin are good.
“We had a good chat when he left, he thanked me and I thanked him for his efforts and we left on good terms, as I do with most of the players that have left here.
“I’ve got one left-back remaining and we’ll look to find a bit of cover, obviously depending on what happens in that area.
“Like every front it’s one where we’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, as they say, and obviously as the window progresses things will either happen or not happen.”