Russell offered new contract to stay at Norwich City
Michael BaileyDarel Russell has been offered a new deal to stay at Carrow Road beyond the summer - but there is already another offer believed to be on the table. The Norwich City midfielder's current deal runs out at the end of June and manager Paul Lambert has confirmed talks have started over keeping the 29-year-old at the Canaries as they prepare for their Championship return next season.Michael Bailey
Darel Russell has been offered a new deal to stay at Carrow Road beyond the summer - but there is already another offer believed to be on the table.
The Norwich City midfielder's current deal runs out at the end of June and manager Paul Lambert has confirmed talks have started over keeping the 29-year-old at the Canaries as they prepare for their Championship return next season.
Russell missed Thursday's open top us parade and civic ceremony after he was given leave to go on holiday early, and Lambert said: "I gave him permission to go on a break. He's at a family reunion in America. I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago about it and he's been a big help so I gave him permission.
"I have spoken to him (about a contract) and he knows the situation about that, and I will have a chat with him again and we will see what happens."
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Was Lambert expecting Russell to still be at Norwich next season?
"Hopefully, yes," said the City boss.
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However, it is believed Norwich are not alone in wanting Russell on their side next season. Leeds United, who will join City back in the Championship after securing automatic promotion from League One at the third attempt, are believed to have tabled a considerably improved offer on Russell's expired deal to entice him up to Elland Road.
Russell, a product of City's youth system, spent six years at Carrow Road before moving to Stoke in 2003 - the summer before Norwich secured Premier League football.
The midfielder was a big hit at the Britannia Stadium before surprising deciding to make a return to Norwich four years later - coincidentally the summer before Stoke achieved their own promotion to the top flight.
It means Russell's Premier League ambitions remain unfulfilled - but whether a move to Leeds is attractive enough remains to be seen.
One ex-Canary who is already assured of a place in the Championship with United next season is Andy Hughes.
The former City midfielder has been offered a new deal to stay at Elland Road, along with top scorer Jermaine Beckford - although he is still expected to move on in the summer.
Goalkeeper Casper Ankergren and defenders Rui Marques and Andrew Milne will be free agents this summer, while defenders Alan Sheehan and Lubo Michalik, midfielder Andy Robinson and striker Tresor Kandol have been told they have no future at the club.
Leeds manager Simon Grayson said: "The club needs to move forward and these decisions, as hard as they were, had to be made in that interest, so the recruitment of new players can now start to form our squad for the Championship campaign.
"Over the summer months we will also be looking to extend the term of a number of the existing players contracts and also make a decision on those players who have now returned to their clubs, having been on loan, which will also be made in the context of our squad next season."