Norwich City must fight to keep John Ruddy out of the clutches of Premier League rivals
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's resolve to keep hold of England keeper John Ruddy will face a stern test this summer after both Arsenal and Sunderland emerged as potential options for a Premier League escape route.
The Gunners were yesterday linked with a £6m raid for the Canaries' number one to provide competition for first choice Wojciech Szczesny after compatriot Lukasz Fabianski agreed a four-year pre-contract move to Swansea on July 1. City's relegation rivals Sunderland also have Ruddy on a watch list of new recruits after the Black Cats released back-up keepers Keiren Westwood and Oscar Ustari.
City's hierarchy reiterated last week they are under no pressure to sell any of their players despite slipping out of the top flight, but the likes of Ruddy and midfielder Robert Snodgrass continue to be touted with Carrow Road exits.
Ruddy pledged to stay in the wake of Norwich's relegation and his England World Cup heartache after penning a new deal last season keeping him in Norfolk until 2017, following serious interest 12 months ago from Arsenal's London rivals Chelsea.
'I'm not a quitter, definitely not. I signed a new contract with Norwich in October and I've got three seasons left on that contract,' he said earlier this month. 'The situation is the same as it was last summer. There was a bit of interest from Chelsea, but Norwich didn't receive a bid they deemed acceptable. If that's the same case this summer then I've no problem with that. I'm very happy at Norwich. My family are very settled. Unless the club turn around to me and say we've accepted an offer for you, then I'll be a Norwich player come next season.
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'Norwich fans are fantastic. They've been very good with me. I had a tough time when I first joined here and they could easily have turned against me but they stuck by me, and I would like to think I have repaid their faith.'
Ruddy excelled against the Gunners in a 2-0 final day Premier League defeat that confirmed the club's league fate, and the FA Cup finalists are reportedly tracking the 27-year-old, along with Cardiff's ex-Norwich keeper David Marshall and Reading's Alex McCarthy. The Norwich stopper has also been linked with Crystal Palace, with the Eagles' long-serving first choice Julian Speroni yet to agree a new Selhurst Park contract.
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