David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady can land David Moyes a young and exciting talent with a “fighting spirit” by beating Leeds to the signature of long-time West Ham United target Todd Cantwell.
According to Football Insider, Norwich City are now confident the Championship side can hold off Leeds’ interest and retain Cantwell beyond the end of the EFL transfer window.
Marcelo Bielsa’s newly-promoted Whites had submitted a £15million offer for Cantwell last month but saw the bid knocked back, with the Canaries valuing the 22-year-old at closer to £20m.
Norwich’s demands for their academy graduate seem to have led to Leeds cooling their interest, while Director of Football Victor Orta has since confirmed to the Yorkshire Evening Post that his side are now analysing other targets having looked into the potential of striking a deal.
The Whites’ turning attentions elsewhere could create an opening for West Ham to sign their long-time target, having been linked with a potential move for the midfielder in January at a time the England U21 international was level on six Premier League goals with James Maddison, Dele Alli and Jack Grealish.
Cantwell would not manage to add any additional strikes to his name beyond his six, with the Dereham-born talent last scoring on New Year’s Day and ultimately not being able to help Norwich avoid relegation.
While Cantwell’s goals dried up last season, Moyes and West Ham ought to look positively on his potential availability as they consider reviving efforts to sign AFC Bournemouth’s Joshua King.
The Cherries ace is said to be a candidate to target ahead of Friday’s Deadline Day if efforts to acquire Brentford’s Said Benrahma fall through, however the Norwegian is keen to play as a number nine as opposed to the wide role Moyes envisages him occupying.
Cantwell could cost marginally more than King at £20m, but offers an exciting option and has been lauded previously for his knowledge of the game having turned his career around.
“He is a smart guy and he has a kind of fighting spirit,” Kevin Hofland, who was assistant manager at Fortuna Sittard during Cantwell’s loan spell in Holland in 2018, told Sky Sports.
“He had to keep faith in himself. Of course, success is always important, but it is also important for a young player to experience some negative things in their life. That is when the real player will stand up.”
Darren Huckerby, who coached Cantwell in Norwich’s youth system, also told The Athletic: “He was always the most gifted, but needed more work mentally than the others.
“He would admit it himself he could get intimidated by other players, and it’s great to see where he is now, because five years ago you might have said it would be touch and go.”
Cantwell has only managed to start two of Norwich’s four Championship fixtures this term, but impressed in the top-flight last season with SofaScore data showing he recorded an average 0.8 shots, 0.9 key balls, completed 82% of his passes, made 1.4 tackles, 1.3 successful dribbles and won 4.4 ground duels a game in a side that struggled to just five wins.
In an offence featuring an in-form Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals – who have been involved in two and three goals respectively this season – Cantwell could take his game above and beyond the numbers from last term.