Alex Neil confirms Norwich City reject two bids for Lewis Grabban from old club Bournemouth
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Alex Neil insisted Lewis Grabban is a big part of his plans at Norwich City after rejecting two bids from old club Bournemouth.
Grabban will be in the City squad for Tuesday's Capital One Cup trip to Rotherham following firm transfer interest from the Cherries, but Neil is adamant there is no chance of the striker joining one of City's Premier League rivals.
'Yes, we've had a few bids for Lewis but they have been rejected,' confirmed Neil, speaking on Monday morning at Colney. 'Bournemouth have come in with two separate bids and they have both been rejected. Lewis is an important part of the squad. I've not had to sit him down and reassure him. Lewis is a clever boy and he can see how much he has featured under me since I have been here and he is a big part of our plans. I certainly won't be giving players to direct rivals. That is the bottom line.
'He has been a big part of things since I have been here and unfortunately for him he didn't play at the weekend, but that was purely because of how the game was developing.
'Towards the end we had two or three really good opportunities and I felt we were getting a goal which is why I didn't want to change. He will be in the squad for Rotherham, as he has been in every game when he has been fit.'
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Grabban has not started Norwich's last two Premier League games, but was a key figure for Neil during Norwich's Championship promotion push until a late red card in April's 1-1 draw at Rotherham. The 27-year-old has scored 12 goals in 35 apperances for Norwich since a move from the south-coast in June 2014.
Gary Hooper is another striker who has had limited opportunities this season, but Neil reiterated there is no firm transfer interest in the ex-Celtic hitman.
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'There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Gary in particular,' said Neil. 'Sheffield Wednesday has been one, Celtic has been mentioned, probably another couple of clubs that have gone out of my head at the moment but until we hear anything concrete then it is just speculation. At the moment I don't expect any departures.'
Norwich have seen bids for Stoke's Jon Walters and Wolves' Benik Afobe knocked back in recent days, with fresh reports over the weekend City are poised to renew their interest in highly-rated Afobe.
'People keep saying a striker. It's a forward player I am after,' said Neil. 'We have watched a lot games, spoken to a lot of people and its on-going. We are doing a lot of talking about different targets and things. It remains to be seen what happens, it depends on circumstances and what other clubs want to do.'