Neil cool on Norwich striker link, but confirms one deal is close

Sebastien Haller: Utrecht striker linked with Premier League move

Alex Neil rejected suggestions Norwich were closing in on a deal for Utrecht striker Sebastien Haller, but confirmed advanced negotiations over the transfer of teenage defender Ben Godrey from York.

The agent of highly-rated 21-year-old French striker Haller said there had been a visit to the club’s Norfolk training base earlier this week, with reports of an £6.5million fee having been agreed.

However, there are other interested parties across Europe, while Neil also has other targets on his radar, including Steven Naismith from Everton.

“You said his name, I am not saying his name,” Neil replied when asked directly about interest in Haller at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League trip to Bournemouth.

“But yes, obviously we are trying to reinvest the money (from the sale of Lewis Grabban) and have a whole host of targets we are trying to attract to the club.

“We have already done a bit of business, (Ivo) Pinto has come in, Matt Jarvis (on a permanent deal after a loan spell) as well, and Ben Godfrey is another we are trying to get across the line.”

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has suggested it is now up to Naismith where he will move, with Swansea also reported to be an option.

Norwich tried to sign the Scotland international in the summer.

Neil said: “There was contact made through the clubs, but there is nothing to report at the moment.”

The deal for Godfrey is expected to be in the region of £1million, and Neil confirmed the teenager was very much “a project” for the future.

“We have made an approach and it is an advanced stages at the moment, hopefully we can get that across the line soon,” said Neil.

“He is only 17, 18, but he has played first-team football for York and that in itself suggests his development is progressing really quickly.

“He is a man already. His dad has history in rugby league so he is built like a man. He is a good athlete and we are hoping in the future he can blossom, introduce him into the development squad and gradually work him into the first team.”

Neil confirmed there was as yet nothing concrete regarding either forwards Gary Hooper, whose loan deal at Sheffield Wednesday will soon expire, or Kyle Lafferty, said to be on Leeds’ wanted list.

Norwich will be without midfielder Gary O’Neil on Saturday after he was sent off for a reckless challenge at Stoke in midweek, a match his team went on to lose 3-1.

“Gary has made an error, he has apologised, there is no point harping on about it, so as far as we are concerned, it is done,” said Neil, who has no fresh injury worries, but will give full-back Pinto more time to settle after his move from Dynamo Zagreb.

Norwich could put more distance between themselves and the relegation places with victory at the Vitality Stadium, which is where Neil took charge of his first match last January.

“Both clubs are in a situation where a win would be important, so we are going to attack the game,” the Scot said.