Tuesday 21 November 2017

Norwich boss Neil denies Robbie Brady move to Premier League is imminent

Robbie Brady’s. Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images
Robbie Brady’s. Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Norwich City boss Alex Neil insists that the clubs chasing Robbie Brady are nowhere near a deal for Ireland's Euro 2016 star.

But Sunderland are prepared to match Burnley's interest in the Dubliner by making an initial offer with a view to winning the race for his signature before the close of the transfer window. Leicester and Crystal Palace are the other sides in the equation at this point.

Norwich want £12m for the 25-year-old and the suggestion is that his current admirers will only reach that figure with add-ons as opposed to the straight fee.

Neil is ready to include Brady in tonight's FA Cup tie with Southampton even though that will leave him cup-tied, but his suitors are more likely to be concerned about his league availability.

After suffering back-to-back relegations with Hull and Norwich, it's possible that he will be thrust into another battle with the drop. Neil says that he's a Norwich player for now.

"There's obviously been teams interested in Robbie but we're not anywhere near a deal with anybody," he said.

"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 has sold left full Martin Olsson to Swansea but has spoken of bringing in an extra body in that department - the position where he has frequently used Brady.

The likelihood is that discussions over the player's next destination will be dragged out with Norwich conscious they can perhaps drive a harder bargain just before the window closes.

James McCarthy is the other Irish international in the news with Sunderland keen to follow up on interest that was reported over the weekend, yet Ronald Koeman is under no pressure to make a decision on the midfielder's future this month.

McCarthy was introduced as a sub in the weekend thrashing of Manchester City with new signing Morgan Schneiderlin coming straight into the team.

In-form Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane is out of contract in the summer and Sheffield Wednesday are trying to put pressure on their Yorkshire rivals to sell up now instead of losing the Corkman for nothing. Aston Villa are also keen.

Hourihane (below) will be hoping to be in Martin O'Neill's plans for March's crucial World Cup qualifier with Wales.

GettyImag (19).jpg
Conor Hourihane of Barnsley. Photo: Getty Images

Travelling fans are unhappy at the number of places of available to them in Dublin, though, after learning that they will receive 3,300 tickets for the match.

Vince Alm of fans group FSF Cymru said he was 'outraged' with a return that is around 6pc of the Aviva Stadium capacity. Alm expected that 10pc would be available.

The FAI have managed to secure 3,500 berths for the November return in the Cardiff City Stadium which is actually marginally more than 10pc of that venue's capacity.

Abbotstown officials are slightly perplexed by the Welsh fury given that the figures were agreed in a meeting with their Welsh counterparts.

In the Euro 2016 campaign, the FAI enraged Irish fans when a number of regulars missed out on tickets for the Scotland away trip in Glasgow. At the time, they were unhappy with the Scots for only offering 5pc to away supporters.

Meanwhile, the FAI have refused to comment on the outcome of Monday's meeting between the association, barrister Michael Cush and members of the Premier Clubs Alliance (PCA) about the future direction of the League of Ireland.

Plans to introduce a 10-team league from 2018 - which means three teams go down from this year's top flight in addition to just one coming up from the First Division - have caused consternation.

But league clubs have split views over a move that was approved by the FAI board and there is no expectation the decision will be reversed before the season starts in February.

Irish Independent

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