Norwich City’s Alex Neil plays it cool over Benik Afobe and Kalidou Koulibaly transfer interest
- Credit: Daniel Hambury/Focus Images Ltd
Gary Hooper is not poised for a Norwich City exit, insists Alex Neil.
Neil was prepared to discuss the futures of Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel at Colney on Friday morning but remained tight-lipped when pushed for the latest on his own attempts to bolster the Canaries' frontline ahead of the transfer deadline on September 1.
Neil batted away questions on City's pursuit of Wolves' striker Benik Afobe and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, while Stoke forward John Walters has also been touted as the subject of a £1.5m enquiry from the Canaries ahead of the Potters' weekend league visit.
The Scot, however, did confirm Hooper is not the subject of firm interest amid reports of a potential swap deal with old club Celtic for Leigh Griffiths.
'As far as I am concerned there is no interest in Gary Hooper. There has been a lot of speculation in the media but until anything is concrete then we won't be commenting on it,' he said. 'We won't be commenting on anything concerning any players, whether they are going or staying, because ultimately the ones we want to bring in our not our players. Yes, I was at Wolves the other day but there were a lot of good players on show. I am not going to comment on that either (Koulibaly). Every player is a possibility.'
Neil also reiterated van Wolfswinkel had not been told to find a new club. The Dutchman is yet to feature in Neil's Premier League plans but scored for the development side in midweek.
'Ricky understands his situation. I have sat down and had a chat with him on a good few occasions,' said Neil. 'He trains with the first team every day and he played in the 21s to get some minutes under his belt. We have not had the discussion whereby his agent needs to get him a move. His task is to get himself into the first team. He is training hard and trying to do that and scored in the development game.'
Neil confirmed on Friday he has no fresh injury worries ahead of Stoke's Premier League visit to Carrow Road. Kyle Lafferty (knee) is poised to return to training next week and Martin Olsson (shoulder) is back in light training with the first team squad.
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'Kyle has been doing a lot of fitness work and will join in with the players next week in full training,' said Neil. 'Martin is at that stage but it is still non-contact. He is floating in and out of the sessions because the boys are not allowed to tackle him at the moment in case they pop his shoulder.
'The League Cup tie is probably too soon for them because its on the Tuesday that only gives them one training session. With Youssouf (Mulumbu) it is more about him healing right now. The good thing is we did a full pre-season with him so his fitness levels were at a good stage. It is a case of letting his foot heal and then building him back up. Apart from that we have a clean bill of health.'