Norwich City transfer rumours: Canaries tracking Bosnia midfielder

Rijeka's Stjepan Loncar (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA

Norwich City are reportedly among the clubs to have shown interest in Rijeka midfielder Stjepan Loncar - Credit: PA

Norwich City are claimed to be among the clubs that have been tracking Bosnia & Herzegovina international midfielder Stjepan Loncar in recent months.

Reports have surfaced in recent days in Italy which claim that Serie A side Verona and ambitious Serie B side Monza have shown interest, which appears to have originated from Tutto Mercato Web.

The interest has been followed up by Bosnian media outlet SportSport, which claims their sources say Monza are showing serious interest, with unnamed Spanish clubs and the Canaries also mentioned - citing a summer move being likely after a 'phenomenal season' for Rijeka.

Monza were bought by former AC Milan owner and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in 2018 and were promoted last year, finishing third to qualify for the Serie B promotion play-offs which start next week.

Loncar, 24, is a tenacious central midfielder who can also play on the left and has nine caps for Bosnia, playing in five of his country's last nine matches.

He plays in the Croatian top tier for Rijeka, where Norwich striker Josip Drmic is on loan and finding form with seven goals in his last 10 games keeping hopes of European qualification alive.

Loncar has made 41 appearances for his club so far this season, starting all but two games, and claimed three goals and five assists - winning two Croatian Cups with Rijeka since joining from Bosnian side Siroki Brijeg in 2018.

He signed a three-year contract but with the option for a further two years, which presumably will be activated by his club at the end of a third season as a regular starter.

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VERDICT: Defensive midfield is an area that City need to strengthen this summer, following the departure of long-serving stalwart Alex Tettey and Oliver Skipp's return to Tottenham.

It's believed the Canaries would like to add two central midfielders to their squad following promotion to the Premier League, with Kenny McLean, Lukas Rupp and Jacob Sorensen the current established options - and with McLean and Rupp recovering from injury problems over the summer.

The sticking point could be a work permit, with Bosnia & Herzegovina ranked just outside the top 50 in the Fifa world rankings, with players from countries in the top 50 given precedence.

However, having been a regular in the Croatian top flight and started all six of Rijeka's group games in the Europa League earlier in the season - finishing bottom with four points in a group with Napoli, Real Sociedad and AZ Alkmaar - he would come close to the points required for a GBE (governing body endorsement) following the UK's exit from the European Union.

The left-footed midfielder had put Rijeka 2-1 up during their 2-2 draw in Sociedad in the Europa League, smashing home a loose ball during some penalty area pinball, and also crossed for the late winner as Alkmaar were beaten 2-1 in Croatia in December.

Even after promotion to the Premier League, unearthing hidden gems will continue to be a priority for City as a self-funded club and with Loncar being 24 and an international with Europa League experience, he could fit the bill.

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