‘Norwich simply blew us away’ – Harris admits Millwall couldn’t match Canaries in Marshall race

Millwall Manager Neil Harris Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Millwall Manager Neil Harris Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Millwall boss Neil Harris has admitted the Lions just could not match Norwich City's financial position in the race to sign Wolves winger Ben Marshall.

Ben Marshall became Norwich City's fourth signing of the summer over the weekend. Picture: Norwich C

Ben Marshall became Norwich City's fourth signing of the summer over the weekend. Picture: Norwich City FC - Credit: Archant

The south London side had bid a club-record £1.3m for the 27-year-old, who played a key role in the 17-game unbeaten run which nearly took Harris's side to an unlikely play-off place.

He scored three goals and set up another five during 16 appearances while on loan during the second half of last season but decided to join Norwich permanently, signing a four-year deal.

The Millwall chief said the sales of James Maddison to Leicester for in excess of £20m and Josh Murphy to Cardiff for over £10m gave the Canaries the financial muscle they needed to get the deal done.

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'We wish Ben the best at Norwich. It is a great opportunity for him – a fantastic deal,' Harris told the South London Press & Mercury. 'We made no secret that we wanted him and made a substantial offer to Wolves.

'We tried very hard to get him. We have been admirers of him all summer. We really appreciated his efforts last season. He was great for us. I have nothing but praise for the lad. We wish him the best of luck with his new club.

'But the result has been a reality check for us. We just cannot compete with the kind of money they were offering on the back of selling £33million worth of players.

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'The chairman, John Berylson, was unbelievably supportive. But however much he backed me with our bid, the Financial Fair Play rules mean we could not go above a certain level.

'Norwich simply blew us away. We did not just look at him as an option, though. We admire him but have been working behind the scenes on other options while this has been going on.'

Marshall became the fourth permanent signing of the summer for City, following hot on the heels of the free transfer of Finland international striker Teemu Pukki.

That double signing added to the addition of Argentine attacker Emi Buendia and the permanent deal for loan midfielder Moritz Leitner.

A fifth signing arrived last night when young Borussia Dortmund full-back Felix Passlack was brought in on a season-long loan.

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The latest exit is due to be announced by Norwich as well, with out-of-favour big earner Steven Naismith set to return to Hearts for a second loan spell, which would see out the remaining year of his contract.