Two clubs showing interest in Ipswich Town striker Norwood
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town striker James Norwood is being monitored by Fleetwood Town and Dundee United this summer, we understand.
The 29-year-old, the club’s marquee signing last summer, scored 11 goals in 32 appearances during a 2019/20 season severely impacted by an ongoing groin injury.
Fleetwood Town and Dundee United are both understood to have shown interest in the former Tranmere Rovers man, though it’s thought the Blues are not willing to allow their No.10 to depart and see him as an important member of the squad.
The striker arrived last summer having fired Tranmere to promotion with a stunning 32-goal season, which saw him top English football’s scoring charts alongside Sergio Aguero, and there’s a belief he can be a central figure once injury free.
He was the centre-piece of manager Paul Lambert’s summer recruitment and is contracted to the club until the summer of 2022, with Town holding the option to extend his stay by a further 12 months.
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Norwood does have links to both interested clubs, given he was a Fleetwood transfer target prior to his move to Suffolk and was pictured with manager Joey Barton in London last November, while top flight Scottish side Dundee United are now managed by his former Tranmere boss Micky Mellon.
Mellon could potentially see Norwood as a replacement for striker Lawrence Shankland, who is a Rangers target following an impressive first season in tangerine, which saw him score 28 goals in 33 games. Prior to that, Shankland scored 63 goals in two seasons for Ayr United and was previously mentioned in connection with Ipswich in 2018.
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The Blues are known to be in the market for a striker this summer, as they look to add firepower to a group including Norwood, Kayden Jackson and Freddie Sears.
Following Mellon’s appointment earlier this summer, Norwood hailed his old boss’s impact on his own career.
“In the summer after the first promotion (2018, from the National League) I had a bid come in and I rang the gaffer,” he told the Dundee Evening Telegraph.
“He said to me, ‘Nors, see this season, play the season, you’re going to score a lot of goals, you’ve got to trust me, and then whatever happens after that happens after that.’
“I believed every word that he said. Then 32 goals (in League Two) later, I got a great move (to Ipswich).
“So that was me putting my career and my faith in the gaffer’s hands, he did want me to succeed.
“He set up a team for me to score goals and we were successful doing that. So I owe where I am now to the gaffer.”
Barton revealed his side’s prior interest in Norwood ahead of the meeting between Fleetwood and Ipswich in October.
“We tracked James Norwood, tracked him for a while, and thought we had a legitimate shot at getting him,” he said.
“Then, he scores loads of goals in League Two last season and then you hear Ipswich are in for him, as they’re coming down.
“We’re kind of like: ‘OK, we might have £2,500-£3,000, for you’ and then Ipswich come in and give him between £8,000 and £10,000 (sic).
“The January before you see Sunderland pay £3.5 million for Will Grigg and probably up north of £10,000 a week.
“It’s remaining clear in your objectives that we can’t compete with these teams financially, so we’ve got to be a lot smarter in what we do. In many ways it’s going to be David versus Goliath.”
Norwood last played for Ipswich at Wimbledon on February 11, after which he underwent groin surgery for the second time during his first Ipswich season.
“The problem was going on since September really and then I tore my groin,” the striker said.
“I was taking three or four pills a day to be able to train and play and before I had my first operation (in October) I had injections before games. I grew up in a place where ‘if you’re injured, you play’ and I was probably doing myself a disservice with my performances from that time on because I wasn’t able to do anything I wanted to do.
“I was probably playing at about 50 per cent really. It impacted any form of running and I couldn’t really kick a ball with my left foot. Changing direction and jumping was hard – pretty much everything.
“Sometimes the pain killers worked, sometimes they didn’t and it was just a case of trying to get lucky for a game.
“I got through the first 10 games well and was on seven goals from there but after I got the injury I was fighting a losing battle really.”