Updated - Norwich City transfer rumours: Bristol City look to tie up Gary O’Neil signing; Ryan Bennett tracked by Premier League duo

Norwich City midfielder Gary ONeil is in demand ahead of becoming a free agent next month. Picture b

Norwich City midfielder Gary ONeil is in demand ahead of becoming a free agent next month. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Gary O'Neil is poised to snub a new Norwich City deal and join Championship rivals Bristol City on a free transfer.

The Bristol Evening Post claimed on Thursday morning O'Neil was in the city last night for a medical and could be unveiled in the next day or two after rejecting the chance to stay at Carrow Road.

The 33-year-old is officially out of contract at the end of June but had been offered a new deal to stay with the relegated Canaries by Alex Neil after establishing himself as a regular Premier League starter last season and captaining the side on numerous occasions during the top flight run-in.

The former Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, West Ham and QPR midfielder made 31 appearances for Norwich last season and forged an impressive partnership alongside Jonny Howson before the club's player-of-the year suffered a late season-ending knee injury.

The Robins have declined to make any official comment but the Evening Post report O'Neil is seen as an experienced foil to the Robins' midfielders Marlon Pack, Bobby Reid, Joe Bryan and former Norwich academy product Korey Smith.


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Ex-City striker Aaron Wilbraham is also part of Lee Johnson's set-up. The Bristolians finished 18th in the Championship last season, 12 points clear of the relegation zone.

Johnson made it clear recently the Robins would struggle to compete with the wealthy Championship clubs but had to be creative in their transfer quest.

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'The really interesting thing for me over the past three or four weeks has been trying to work out ways to be creative and to address that disparity in wealth,' he said. 'By that, I mean the way you do your business. You can get involved in conversations with Premier League clubs about talented youngsters. It could also mean finding out information about certain clubs and learning which players are surplus to requirements. Then you can further close the gap with good team spirit, quality coaching and decent infrastructure.'

Meanwhile, football web site 'Here is the City' report Norwich centre-back Ryan Bennett is a target for newly-promoted Premier League duo Middlesbrough and Hull City, along with Scottish giants Celtic.

Bennett is approaching the final year of his contract and could be a wanted man if the Canaries fail to tie him down to a longer term deal. The 26-year-old made 26 appearances for the Canaries last season and is one of the club's longest-serving players after joining from Peterborough in 2012.

HITC claim Middlesbrough and Hull City are both looking to bolster their defensive options for next season while Bhoys' new boss Brendan Rodgers is an admirer of the former England Under-21 international, after trying to sign him at Swansea City prior to his deadline day move in January 2012 to Norfolk.

BBC Sport also claimed on Thursday afternoon Boro have followed up their interest with a firm enquiry.

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