The race to sign Republic of Ireland and Norwich winger Robbie Brady has reportedly intensified.
Further to the Mirror’s claims on Wednesday that Premier League sides Leicester City and Crystal Palace were in contention to sign the highly-rated 24-year-old, the same outlet has now furthered that by alleging that as many as four more clubs are in the hunt for his signature.
The report names the sides as Premier League duo Swansea City and Burnley, along with Championship clubs Newcastle United and Aston Villa.
Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce is a noted fan of the versatile player, confirming his interest in Brady last week amid reports of a £7m bid, while Leicester made several attempts to price the former Manchester United trainee away from Carrow Road during last summer’s transfer window.
Norwich had been looking for over over £15m – possibly even as much as £18m – for Brady following his star turn for Ireland at Euro 2016, but that figure has now been reduced to a more realistic £10m (though they are hoping to bring it back up to £13m in a potential bidding war).
Alex Neil’s side are desperate to strengthen this month in the face of poor league form – the Canaries sit five points outside of the playoffs at this time but have won just three times in their last 13 matches. To that end, selling a high-value player like Brady would allow them to strengthen other areas of the team.
Each interested club would bring certain opportunities and challenges for Brady. Of the interested Premier League clubs, all but Burnley are currently in a relegation battle in the top flight. Swansea are second-from-bottom on fifteen points, Crystal Palace are only one point better off, and while Leicester are on 21 points, they have allowed the Champions League to become a big distraction.
Of the Championship clubs, meanwhile, Rafa Benítez’s Newcastle are in second place and look a good bet for promotion at the first time of asking, while Steve Bruce is aiming to guide Aston Villa to the playoffs after the side endured a dreadful start to the season under previous boss Roberto Di Matteo.
To that end, Burnley would offer the most stability as a potential destination – plus there would be the Irish connection with fellow internationals Stephen Ward and Jeff Hendrick already at Turf Moor. Recreating the Ward-Brady partnership at club level would be especially welcomed by Martin O’Neill were it to come off.
All of that being said, the links with Allardyce and Palace have been the strongest to date, but wherever he ends up it appears as though Brady will almost certainly be on the move this month.