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Why Norwich City fear they may lose out on Bolton youngster

Republic of Ireland youngster Luca Connell has been linked with a move to Norwich City. Picture: PA

Republic of Ireland youngster Luca Connell has been linked with a move to Norwich City. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Norwich City are in the hunt for Bolton Wanderers' youngster Luca Connell - but fear they won't be able to offer him the first team football he is demanding.

Norwich City are in the hunt for Bolton Wanderers' youngster Luca Connell - but fear they won't be able to offer him the first team football he is demanding.

The Canaries are one of several clubs, including the likes of Tottenham, Wolves, Leeds and Rangers, keen to sign the youngster drafted into the senior Republic of Ireland squad on Tuesday for upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers. However, City see the 18-year-old joining the club's Under-23s ranks with limited first team involvement next season in the Premier League.

Connell's advisors think their client is ready to be a first team regular and Norwich believe the defensive midfielder will choose a club where they can offer this on a regular basis. Having made just 10 appearances for crisis club Bolton this season, it would be a massive jump for Connell to challenge for a first team spot at Carrow Road, given their new top-flight status.

The waters have been muddied further after Connell, who was out of contract this summer, agreed to extend his scholarship at Bolton for a third year. This means interested clubs will now have to agree a package with Bolton and Connell's agent rather than pay the training compensation fee of around £300,000 to the Trotters if he had been out of contract.

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Connell, who joined Bolton's academy in 2009, made his first team debut at the start of the year in an FA Cup win over Walsall.

However, the Trotters, who will be deducted 12 points in League One next season after going into administration, could still be keen to cash in on one of their assets.

City are looking to strengthen their Under-23s squad this summer having released eight players from their academy at the end of the season. They want to add players capable of going out on loan to Championship or League One clubs with a view to potentially breaking into the first team picture at Carrow Road. Connell is seen by many at the club as a perfect addition but whether the player is patient enough to bide his time in the Premier League remains to be seen.

Ben Godfrey, Max Aarons, Jamal Lewis and Todd Cantwell have all got their first team chance at Carrow Road, with head coach Daniel Farke willing to blood young talent.

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