Grant Holt poised for Norwich City exit
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Grant Holt appears to be on the verge of leaving Norwich City to join Championship outfit Wigan Athletic after four hugely successful seasons at Carrow Road.
Both Sky Sports and the BBC reported yesterday that the two clubs had agreed a fee for the 32-year-old frontman, who has netted 78 goals in 168 appearances for the Canaries to stand sixth on the club's all-time goalscorers' list.
A leading bookmaker had earlier suspended betting on Holt moving to the Latics, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, after he was backed down to odds of 1-5 to make the move.
Sky Bet Football Trader Chris Spicer said: 'We had to pull the plug on Holt's market due to the sheer volume of bets we've taken on. Our customers have been queuing up to back the move, which was an even-money price just two days ago and as long as 8/1 last week.'
Holt has seen City boss Chris Hughton bring in record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon and young flier Nathan Redmond from Birmingham City, with speculation linking the club to a clutch of other strikers around Europe. And that had led to suggestions that Holt, who has been a major player in the club's rise from the depths of League One to a pair of respectable Premier League finishes, was surplus to requirements.
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Holt has been linked with Premier League newcomers Hull City, West Ham – who bid for him early last year – and Aston Villa, although recent claims suggested there had been no official interest lodged with the powers that be at Carrow Road. Now he looks certain to leave the Canaries to team up with new Wigan boss Owen Coyle, with the move enabling him to re-unite with his family, who moved back to his native Cumbria earlier this year.
Holt joined the recently-relegated Canaries during the summer of 2009, with then manager Bryan Gunn paying Shrewsbury a reported £400,000 for the player's services. It turned out to be an inspired signing, with Holt scoring over 50 goals to help Paul Lambert's team to successive promotions. He also scored a total of 23 Premier League goals.
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One player Hughton has insisted he will resist selling is John Ruddy, with some media outlets claiming the goalkeeper is keen on a move to Chelsea, although there is nothing to back up those claims. Chelsea were reported to have made a £5m bid for Ruddy – which was rejected – as they want him as back-up to Petr Cech.
City's chief executive David McNally tweeted late on Friday night 'I haven't been in talks with clubs about any one leaving' – although other reports suggest there is plenty of effort going into new signings.