Sunderland first in line to snap up Norwich’s Holt

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Norwich goal-getter Grant Holt stunned the Carrow Road faithful yesterday by handing in a transfer request that leaves his future hanging in the balance.

The request was rejected by the club, but with the 31-year old clearly determined to exit East Anglia there is set to be a clamour for his signature after a maiden Premier League season that has seen him find the net no fewer than 17 times.

Martin O’Neill is thought to be the man heading up the chase for the powerhouse forward and he is set to make a move for Holt in the next couple of weeks.

The Sunderland boss believes the former Rochdale man fits his blueprint for a centre forward perfectly.

The Mackems have long been linked with a move for Bolton’s Kevin Davies, but the Trotters captain signed a new deal this week and the Canaries number nine is next on O’Neill’s wish-list.

Carlisle-born Holt is also thought to be eager to move back up North and a transfer to the Stadium of Light may prove a convenience he can’t ignore.

The shock transfer request has come merely days after reports linking current Norwich boss Paul Lambert with the vacant hot-seat at Aston Villa, leading to talk of reported interest in Holt from the Midlands.

However, it would seem that the striker has simply requested something of a bumper pay rise that his employers are not willing to offer.

At 31 he sees his next contract as crucial as he looks to finish his career on a high and build for his life after the game, and with the Black Cats keen to get their man they look set to match his demands.

O’Neill is keen to do business early with a host of clubs expected to be interested in Holt’s services, but with the Carrow Road side keen to keen hold on to their man this could turn into a saga that drags on through the summer.

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Aaron Cox

Aaron has written for a number of top-level publications, including FourFourTwo and the Manchester Evening News. As well as being a fanatical Rochdale AFC fan and blogger, he shares a passion for rugby league and golf.