Norwich City confirm signing of former Ipswich Town target Marley Watkins
- Credit: Archant
Norwich City have confirmed the signing of former Ipswich Town target Marley Watkins.
The 26-year-old – who can play wide or up front – rejected a new deal at Barnsley and will join the Canaries on a three-year deal when his Tykes contract expires at the end of the month.
It’s understood the Blues had £1m+ offers for Watkins rejected in the last two transfer windows, with Mick McCarthy having considered him an ideal replacement for Daryl Murphy at Portman Road.
“We kind of picked up on him when we were doing analysis ahead of the first game of the season,” said McCarthy, speaking ahead of Town’s trip to Oakwell in March. “Everything we watched we liked and whenever I’ve seen him since I do like him, yeah.”
Signing a striker remains towards the top of McCarthy’s priority list this summer, with the Blues understood to still be interested in Preston’s Jordan Hugill and Rotherham’s Danny Ward.
Released by Swansea at the age of 17, Watkins played for Cheltenham, Bath City, Hereford and Inverness before moving to Barnsley in June 2015. In his first season with the Yorkshire club he helped them secure promotion via the League Two Play-Offs and win the Football League Trophy.
In the season just gone he scored 10 goals and provided nine assists as Paul Heckingbottom’s side finished 14th in the Championship, subsequently earning his first Welsh international call-up.
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Watkins is the first signing for Norwich’s new German boss Daniel Farke.
“I want to work hard and to show passion for the team,” he told canaries.co.uk. “Every year in your career is important but this is a really exciting time for me. I want to make sure I deliver and that I’m successful.
“Competition makes you better so it’s about trying to outwork everyone else. I’ll be as dedicated as possible and keep striving. I’ll be looking to play and to improve the team.”
He added: “Barnsley was a great club and I’ll have nothing but fond memories. Now it’s just about aiming as high as possible. I feel like Norwich are one of the best teams on paper and they have high ambitions. They want to be in the Premier League, which is where every player wants to be. I’m really happy to make this decision and excited to be joining the project.”