Rovers have been linked with a move for Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell.

The national press say that Rovers are plotting an ambitious move for the 24-year-old who has twice won promotion from the Championship.

Here we go deeper into the link, and the likelihood of a move materialising.



Broughton influence: Cantwell is well known to Rovers director of football Gregg Broughton. Between 2014 and 2017 Broughton worked as Norwich’s Academy manager, responsible for overseeing the development of the club’s top prospects and integration into the first-team.

Broughton had previously worked as head of Academy recruitment at the club, utilising his links at former club Luton Town to bring in Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis who would later become stars in the first-team.

Norfolk-born Cantwell arrived at the club at the age of 10, so wasn’t one of those recruited by Broughton, who had left for Bodo/Glimt by the time the England Under-21 international made his first-team debut in 2018.

Yet there is no doubting that Cantwell would have been identified as a potential star for the future during Broughton’s time in Norfolk, and a player he will have kept a close eye on.


Cantwell availability: There was an expectation that Cantwell would leave Norwich in January for a loan move overseas, something the player himself felt would have been a good move, having previously enjoyed a spell in Eredivisie with Fortuna Sittard in 2018 before returning to become a regular with the Canaries.

He was eventually loaned to Bournemouth in January, with a view to a permanent move, an option the Cherries have opted against taking up following their promotion back to the Premier League.

Cantwell failed to make any of the final four matchday squads, and after being subbed at half-time against Reading on March 15, his seventh consecutive start, he managed only another 115 minutes of action.

Upon Bournemouth’s decision not to take up the option, Norwich boss Dean Smith said: “I envisage him being back for pre-season. We will be looking forward to working with all the players again (after the summer) and every player that comes in pre-season, they know the standards that are expected.”

However, there is a sense at Carrow Road that Cantwell could be allowed to leave again this summer, whether it be on loan, or a permanent move.


Contract: Norwich activated a one-year clause in Cantwell’s deal to ensure that he will be under contract until 2023. Had they not done so, then, due to being 24, Cantwell would have been free to speak with other clubs, without a requirement for compensation.


Fitting in: Bournemouth were keen on Rovers midfielder Joe Rothwell in January, but when those advances were knocked back, the Cherries moved for Cantwell on loan, with a view to an £11m permanent move.

If Bournemouth saw the players are similar, there’s a good case Rovers could too, however, Rothwell did play in a deeper role in 2021/22 to allow for John Buckley to flourish further up the pitch.

Cantwell has largely operated in a No.10 position, or playing from the left, and would fit best into a 4-2-3-1 system.

There is of course Bradley Dack to consider, a player who has made that role his own during his five years at the club.

Dack is on the comeback from a second-long term injury, and is eyeing a strong pre-season to get him up to full speed after nine cameo appearances off the bench last term.

Jon Dahl Tomasson is thought to prefer playing ‘inverted wingers’, with players operating on the flank opposite to their strongest fit, which could be a fit, although the new head coach has already outlined that he isn’t stuck to one formation or system, instead to principles of play.

Rovers’ midfield ranks have been left depleted following the departures of Rothwell, Jacob Davenport and Bradley Johnson, while Leighton Clarkson wasn’t replaced after his loan from Liverpool was cut short in January.

It is therefore among the priority positions for Rovers this summer.


Budget: While Norwich could be open to a permanent sale this summer, having installed an option of £11m in the Bournemouth deal only six months ago, it would unlikely to be for a figure that would fit into Rovers’ budget.

Equally, with a loan deal, there would need to be a compromise on the Canaries’ part over wages, should this become a stronger possibility than just a link.

However, relegation from the Premier League will see a reduction in the Norwich players’ wage packets, and the Canaries did agree to a contribution of a little over 10 per cent when Rovers made a move for Tom Trybull in 2020.

While Broughton said Rovers had a ‘healthy budget’ for the upcoming season, there won’t be a change to the club’s wage structure.


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