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Report names first Dean Smith transfer aim with Norwich deal ‘agreed’

Dean Smith is expected to be confirmed as the new manager of Norwich City in the next 48 hours – barely a week after he was axed as manager of Aston Villa.

The Canaries are on the lookout for a replacement for Daniel Farke, whom they sacked last weekend. Initially, it was felt that Frank Lampard was poised to take the job, only for the former Chelsea boss to pull out of the running.

That has left Smith, who sacked following three years in charge at Villa Park, as the clear frontrunner for the job. He’s reportedly held extensive talks with Canaries chiefs, who are keen to get a new man in place quickly.

Smith, who is currently in the USA, was interviewed by Norwich on Thursday. He reportedly impressed with his knowledge of the squad, playing style and club culture.

Indeed, The Athletic reports on Saturday that Smith has now been offered the job. And with Smith keen on a rapid return to management, his appointment should be confirmed ‘in the next 48 hours’.

And Smith will reportedly sign up with the Canaries on an initial two-a-half year deal.

Indeed, he faces a tough task to save Norwich from an immediate return to the Championship. They currently sit bottom the Premier League, with just five points on the board.

However, they at least now have a win under their belt, having recorded a surprise 2-1 win at Brentford last time out.

Smith’s first game could be against Southampton, who Norwich face on Saturday 20 November.

Ironically, Smith’s final match in charge of Villa was a 1-0 defeat at Southampton last Friday.

First Smith priority is to tie down Cantwell

Smith’s first priority as Norwich boss will reportedly be to tie down the future of star midfielder Todd Cantwell.

The England U21 man has lost his place in recent weeks amid plenty of speculation over his future.

While Farke never truly explained why Cantwell wasn’t in his plans, he did offer some hint on the player following the 7-0 drubbing at Chelsea.

“The rules are clear for each player,” he said. “You have to be physically and mentally prepared and show consistency in training and be available. The standards and the levels are the same for every player.”

Indeed, Smith is known to be a big admirer of the player, having expressed an interest in him while Villa boss.

Smith ultimately instead signed Emi Buendia, a deal that ended their interest in Cantwell.

But having helped mould Jack Grealish into a £100m star, he will hope to harness Cantwell’s skills too at Carrow Road.

However, with his contract expiring in 2022, Smith will need to persuade Cantwell to sign a new deal first.

Failure to do so will see exposed to lowball offers for the midfielder in the January window.

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