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Bali Mumba Wins EFL Young Player Of The Month Award

As far as loan spells go, Bali Mumba's has probably been one of the most successful in the English Football League this season.

The 21-year-old wing-back has capped an excellent start to his season at Plymouth Argyle with two goals and two assists in establishing himself in League One's table-topping side.

But it was his first home goal for the Pilgrims - against Norwich's bitter rivals Ipswich Town - that has endeared him to supporters of his parent club.

"Norwich fans loved it more than me," he joked to BBC Sport ahead of a training session.

"That was a great moment. Just to get a goal in front of the home fans was enough. The fans are incredible, so I always wanted to get a goal at home just to see what the atmosphere's like.

"After the game I saw the reactions of everyone. I didn't really think they would clock on as much as they did, but after the game I went on Twitter and saw the messages and stuff like that. That was when I was like 'OK, this is pretty big then'."

The former England youth international has started 12 of Argyle's opening 13 League One matches - only goalkeeper Michael Cooper and centre-back Dan Scarr have started more - having grasped a chance presented to him in part by summer signing Mickel Miller's pre-season thigh injury.

"It's been incredible. Since day one I've enjoyed my time and because I'm enjoying being here it's showing on the pitch," he added.

"When I'm at a place where I feel good I think that's where I play my best football. It's showing on the pitch how much I'm enjoying it."

Bali Mumba's one Premier League appearance came at Manchester City in August 2021

Mumba began his career at Sunderland, where he broke into the fringes of the first-team squad in 2018 before joining Norwich City for an undisclosed fee in the summer of 2020.

He made six first-team appearances in the 2020-21 season and came on as a half-time substitute in Norwich's 5-0 loss at Manchester City in August 2021 - his only Premier League game - before spending the second half of last season on loan at Peterborough United in the Championship.

Mumba hopes that following in the footsteps of players such as James Maddison, Fabio Carvalho, Conor Gallagher and Jude Bellingham, who have all been named EFL young player of the month in previous seasons, will be a foundation for a successful career.

"It's a huge honour for me. Great young players have won this award and it's something that I've always been inspired to try and get," he said.

"My biggest aim is to just to be able to play football at the highest level that I can get to. That's the overall target of it all.

"By the time I finish my career I want to look back and say I played at this level, this level, I finally managed to reach the highs that I can get, which is Premier League.

"That's something that's a dream for me that I'm working towards, but I don't like looking too far ahead of what's to come.

"Right now I'm just living in the moment and just trying to do the job here and do well here, and the future will worry about itself if I can play my part here right now."

Transfer Rumour: Norwich Considering Leeds Youngster In Search for Defensive Reinforcements

Norwich City are reported to be interested in signing Leeds United centre back Charlie Cresswell, according to journalist Alan Nixon.

After coming through the youth ranks at Leeds, Cresswell went on to make five Premier League appearances for the Whites last season.

However, he has now dropped into the Championship for the current season, and is spending the season on loan at Millwall.

Since that move to The Den, the 20-year-old has scored three goals and provided one assist in nine league appearances for Gary Rowett’s side, who are currently 13th in the second-tier table.

Now it seems as though that form is starting to attract attention in the defender from elsewhere in the Championship, and Norwich – who are currently second in the Championship are said to be monitoring Cresswell, as they consider a potential move for the centre back.

Head Coach Dean Smith Angry With Norwich Performance vs Preston

Norwich City manager Dean Smith was left angered by his side after they lost 3-2 at home to Preston North End on Saturday.

It was the first Championship defeat for the Canaries in nine games as they were beaten by the league’s lowest scorers.

Prior to this game, Preston had scored just four goals this season and had failed to score more than once in a game.

It left Dean Smith angry with the former Brentford and Aston Villa boss believing the game should have been over in the first half.

Speaking to Norfolk Live, Smith said: “Start we wanted. Game should be over after 20 minutes. Our attacking play in that spell was what we wanted.

“Then we give away two, maybe even three, sloppy goals. That is very unlike us. We still created chances but I am annoyed, disappointed, frustrated. We don’t normally do that. Which is what makes me a little bit angry because that is not like us.”

Smith also took aim at the Preston players and officials for time wasting: “They slowed it down at every opportunity. I don’t blame them, I blame the officials for not dealing with that. The officiating for delaying was really poor.”

Transfer Rumour: Norwich Interested In Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper Michael Cooper

Norwich City may have been given a boost to their hopes of signing Plymouth Argyle's young rising star goalkeeper Michael Cooper .

Plymouth boss Steven Schumacher has admitted that plans are in place for the eventuality that the highly-rated shot stopper, who has been linked with the Canaries as well as Premier League outfit Aston Villa, departs the Devon club in January.

After being named in the League One team of the season last year, the Englishman has kept five clean sheets in nine league appearances this term and, at just 22 years of age, already has 121 senior appearances to his name for Argyle with his stock rising quickly.

However, Schumacher believes that he has an able alternative shot stopper in current back-up option 26-year-old Callum Burton should Cooper leave Home Park in January.

Norwich City head coach Dean Smith has started long-term first choice keeper Tim Krul in all ten league matches so far this season while Angus Gunn has been given the nod for their League Cup matches against Birmingham City and Bournemouth. Smith also has Michael McGovern as an alternative, but having another younger option with an exciting amount of potential may be appealing in the long-term for the Canaries.

Transfer Rumour: Przemysław Płacheta Linked With Greek Move

Greek top-flight side AEK Athens are the latest club to show an interest in Norwich City’s Przemyslaw Placheta, according to reports from the winger’s native Poland.

According to Meczyki the management at Athens, who finished fifth in the 2021-22 season and who have previously signed Nelson Oliveira from the Canaries, are understood to be keen to bring the 24-year-old winger in.

The same outlet media outlet reported earlier this week that Norwich's Championship rivals Birmingham City were thought to be interested in a loan-to-buy deal for their number 11, with further interest internationally.

Placheta played a total of 14 times for Dean Smith's side last season, hoever he started just six Premier League games after a battle with covid-19 marred the start of his campaign.

The seven-times capped Poland international moved to The Canaries back in 2020 from Slask Wroclaw, and has gone on to score just once in a total of 41 appearances in yellow and green.

Speaking in April about his game time, Placheta said: "For me as a young player, it is amazing to have had the game time that I have this season. For me as a person and a player, it is not enough; I want more. 

"I will do everything I can to play on this level. For me as a person, it is important to be healthy and injury free, that is the first thing and the goal for me.

"After this I will also try to fight for a spot in the first XI and to play more and to help the team win games because we need this."

Transfer Rumour: Przemysław Płacheta Linked With Birmingham City Move

Birmingham City are claimed to be interested in Norwich City winger Przemysław Płacheta, That’s according to reports in the winger’s native Poland, which says Blues and clubs ‘outside the UK’ are keen on the 24-year-old, first on loan and then on a permanent deal in 2023.

The rumour comes with Blues yet to make a move in the transfer market while everyone waits for a takeover of the club. Certainly wide attacking players are in short supply within the first team group, as is Placheta’s main attribute – pace.

Here’s what you need to know about a player who struggled for game-time in the Premier League last season.

Who is he?

A flying winger, born in Łowicz in central Poland in March 1998. He comes from an athletic family, with his brother Marcin a former youth European champion in the 4x100 meters relay and an Olympic bobsleigh racer. Another brother Sylwester was a former professional foobal with MKS Kutno. He has played in both Poland, Germany and England and can operate on either wing.

Starting out

His first club was ŁKS Łódź whom he joined after his father say an advert in a newspaper. “To this day, I remember that day and how happy I was then. It was a unique experience,” Placheta said. Eventually the commute became an issue and after a year-and-a-half he moved to Polonia Warsaw, with whose coach Michał Maliszewski he remains in contact.

Next step

At just 17-years-old he moved to RB Leipzig where ex-Manchester United head coach Ralf Rangnick was in charge of all footballing matter. Indeed after only a few weeks Rangnick called him up for friendly matches against Dukla Praga and Werder Bremen.

A chance to play senior football came in the German third tier came in 2017 and he leapt at it. He joined Leipzig’s partner club Sonnenhof Großaspach and he made a good start before things went awry. “I had a goal and an assist. I thought it was going in the right direction, but the coach was pushing me to left-back. I didn't feel good there. I was always drawn to the front. I would go up the wing or the "10" but I didn't play much.”

Return home

Placheta moved back to Poland with Pogoń Siedlce and although he played regularly the team was relegated from the second tier. That prompted a move to top flight outfit Silesia Wrocław in June 2019 – and his career had lift off. Placheta had the choice of several Ekstraklasa clubs but opted to sign a three-year deal with the Silesian outfit. An outstanding breakthrough season saw him score eight and provide five assists in 34 league matches. He also recorded the top speed of any player in the league during that season.

Taking wing

All of which attracted the attention of Norwich City, Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke who paid a reported €3million for his services. Placheta signed a four year deal in the summer of 2019.

Farke welcomed his arrival: “Przemyslaw is an unbelievably interesting player. He has seen a lot in his young years and has spent some time in Germany. Of course, he will have to adapt to English football, but he has shown unbelievable consistency in his games, delivering goals and assists. He has an end product and is full of pace and bravery.

“We think he can offer something different for us, particularly in the one-on-one duels and in behind the defensive line.”

Placheta initially did OK as Norwich were promoted to the Premier League in 2021. However, his chances became limited under Dean Smith in the Premier League.

Transfer Rumour: Christos Tzolis Linked With Feyenoord Move

Dutch side Feyenoord are interested in a loan deal for Norwich City winger Christos Tzolis, according to reports.

Greek outlet Sportime have claimed that the 20-year-old is attracting interest from the Eredivisie side, along with ex-City boss Daniel Farke's new club Borussia Monchengladbach.

According to the report, however, Feyenoord have insufficient funds for a permanent deal, and would therefore only be able to sign Tzolis on loan, with a commitment of between 70 and 80pc of his wages.

Belgian side Club Brugge are understood to be in talks with the Canaries over an initial loan for the Greek international with an option to buy next summer. Norwich Sporting director Stuart Webber has told Tzolis he's free to leave Carrow Road this summer if the terms on a deal are sufficient for his current club.

While a permanent move and a boost to the transfer budget would be preferred, City are realistic about the likelihood of recouping the £8.8million sum they paid for the winger, and are therefore likely to offload him on an initially temporary basis.

The ex-PAOK man even spent time with Norwich's under-23 side, after head coach Dean Smith decided to take him out of the limelight.

"His confidence has obviously been hit by not playing as much and not being involved," Smith said. "We're trying to get him the game time so that we can improve his productivity and his confidence.

"We're talking to him and he understands it. I feel for the lad, it's not his fault that we go and buy a player for a certain amount of money but they have to live with that tag.

"I just want him to get back to not worrying about that and just getting back to enjoying his football."

Transfer Rumour: Brentford Latest Club Linked With Max Aarons Swoop

Brentford are reported to be the latest club to have an interest in the future signing of young Norwich City right-back Max Aarons ahead of the summer window. 

Numerous reports over recent weeks and months have all suggested the Canaries academy graduate is expected to depart the club this summer after the Norwich's relegation from the Premier League. 

A report by the Sun has claimed that the London club have placed Aarons on their summer shortlist as they search for wing-backs to bolster Thomas Frank's options ahead of the new top-flight campaign. 

During their debut Premier League season, the Bees operated with just two senior wing-backs in Mads Roerslev and Rico Henry, with others filling in during their absence. 

Manchester United and Arsenal have also been linked with the right-back, who has seen Norwich reject bids from Barcelona and Roma in the past. 

Aarons made his 150th senior appearance for City this season and is considered as one of the players who could demand a large fee to help fund Norwich's incoming business as they prepare for life in the Championship. 

Dean Smith is expected to be handed a greater sway in Norwich's transfer activity this summer and will be hoping to add a few players that will help him shape his own squad. 

That may require a major sale or two, with Aarons expected to be in demand after four seasons at Carrow Road. It's understood both parties are willing to consider offers for his services. 

When asked about his future back in April, Aarons kept his cards close to his chest but expressed his gratitude for the platform City have offered him.