City's Marshall bid rejected

JONATHAN REDHEAD Norwich City have been knocked back by Celtic after making a reported bid worth up to £500,000 for young 'keeper David Marshall. Canaries boss Peter Grant, pictured, has targeted the 22-year-old international as a permanent successor to Robert Green and his chances of landing his man looked better when Marshall handed in a transfer request to the Bhoys yesterday.

JONATHAN REDHEAD

Norwich City have been knocked back by Celtic after making a reported bid worth up to £500,000 for young 'keeper David Marshall.

Canaries boss Peter Grant has targeted the 22-year-old international as a permanent successor to Robert Green and his chances of landing his man looked better when Marshall handed in a transfer request to the Bhoys.

Reports north of the Border claim that request was followed by a formal offer from City, worth an eventual half a million pounds based on a series of factors, including appearances.

The Glasgow giants have turned down the offer, although the suggestion is that a deal is likely to be brokered for Marshall, who has become frustrated at a lack of first team opportunities at Parkhead. His successful loan spell at Carrow Road was cut short by a season-ending ankle injury suffered at Chelsea.

City chief executive Neil Doncaster refused to confirm the bid and said the club preferred to keep transfer dealings close to its chest.

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“As and when we've got something positive to report we will do so,” he said. “Some other clubs like to talk about what they are or are not going to do. We would rather do business privately.

“We understand a number of supporters find that stance frustrating, but we believe it's in the best interests of the club.”

Grant's search for a new number one tops his summer recruitment drive after he was forced to use a quintet of keepers during his first Championship campaign.

A Celtic spokeswoman refused to comment on the fresh media speculation, but Marshall is now believed to have slipped further down the Parkhead pecking order behind Polish number one Artur Boruc.

Marshall has made just 35 outings for the Scottish champions since making his breakthrough in 2002.

Bhoys' boss Gordon Strachan recruited Mark Brown from Inverness Caledonian Thistle during the January transfer window while academy prospect Michael McGovern was on the bench for Celtic's Scottish Cup final win over Dunfermline.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has also scotched talk of a big money Premiership move for their highly rated Pole.

Boruc had been strongly linked with Arsenal and Aston Villa, but Lawwell insisted the former Legia Warsaw man, along with Shunsuke Nakamura, is part of the future.

“We've seen all the speculation about Artur and Naka,” he said, “They're under contract here. Boruc has a contract to 2010, because in 2009 we have an option for another year and they're both very happy at the club. They are key players for Gordon and we have no intention of selling them. “Because we have been successful financially as well as on the field of play, we can resist even big offers. We know where we are and where we want to go and Gordon is under no pressure to lose any players.”

Marshall's agent, Willie McKay, revealed recently the fit-again keeper would relish a Carrow Road return. The Celtic youth product was restricted to only five appearances earlier this season following his debut in the FA Cup draw at Blackpool.

Grant has also been linked with free agents Neil Alexander and Danny Coyne to fill his problem position while Fulham keeper Tony Warner has not ruled out a Craven Cottage switch after a successful long term loan last season following Marshall's return north.