Emerging reports have shown that Norwich City tried to sign French Striker Alexis Claude-Maurice for a fee reported to be 16.5 million pounds on Summer deadline day but was rejected by the player.
The report indicates the readiness and ambition of the Canaries to sign another striker even if it means smashing their transfer record as they bid to maintain their Premier League status after regaining promotion.
According to Le Telegramme, the striker who scored 14 League 2 goals last season for Lorient opted out of the move for personal reasons on the grounds of gradual personal development.
He indicated that a move to English Premier League, where interests were forthcoming from the Canaries and West Ham was a bit too early.
However, he signed for Nice in the French League 1, a side coached by former Arsenal Captain Patrick Viera and as far made four league appearances for the side.
According to Loic Fery, President of Lorient whom Alexis Claude-Maurice played for last season, the player sees the English Premier League as the most competitive football league but still needs to develop more somewhere else before making the big step.
“We had two firm interests from two Premier League sides, which I think is not a secret, West Ham and then Norwich later on, who basically made competing for offers. So I guess, I don’t want to speak for him. Still, he made the career choice to go through a club like Nice and feel that he would be able, especially with the ambition that the club has and the new owner, Ratcliffe, he feels that that club will be in a position to compete at the highest level in Europe and he will pursue his development over there,” he stated.
Loic Fery also revealed that the player’s decision was unusual. He said: “I think very unusually, this was a player who had a very clear idea of his career path, and he felt that he needed a sort of intermediate step before going into the Premier League, which I think he views as obviously one of the most competitive football competition”.
Nevertheless, Fery believes Alexis Claude-Maurice has enough talents to excel in the Premier League if he eventually moves to the league, judging by his performances in the League 2 last season.
“I think all the talents that we have seen and the efficiency that made him the best player in Ligue 2 last year, I wouldn’t be surprised if you see him in the Premier League in the next few years,” he concluded.
Norwich City are backed 1.80 to finish above Sheffield United by the end of the EPL season. While Sheffield are 1.90 to finish above Norwich.
Written by: Idowu Daniel Ademiju