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Norwich Defeat Sees Rafael Benítez Sacked by Everton

Rafael Benítez has been sacked by Everton, following the club’s disastrous 2-1 defeat by fellow strugglers Norwich City. His departure leaves majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri seeking his sixth permanent manager in six years.

The Norwich defeat means Everton have taken just five points from their last 12 games, leaving them in 15th, just six points from the relegation zone. Benítez leaves with a win percentage of 26% – the worst record of a permanent manager since Howard Kendall’s ill-fated third spell at the club.

“Everton Football Club can confirm the departure of Rafael Benítez as First Team manager,” read a brief statement. “Benítez, who joined Everton in June 2021, has left the club with immediate effect. An update on a permanent replacement will be made in due course.”

Duncan Ferguson, who took temporary charge following Marco Silva’s dismissal, former manager Roberto Martínez – who was sacked by Moshiri in 2016 – former Granada coach Diego Martínez, José Mourinho, Niko Kovac and Wayne Rooney may all be considered by Everton’s erratic owner.

Everton fans unfurled a banner at Carrow Road calling for Benítez to “get out of our club” and they got their wish on Sunday, with the former Liverpool manager lasting just over six months of his three-year contract.

Benítez became the most controversial managerial appointment in Everton’s history and only the second man to have managed both Everton and Liverpool after Willian Edward Barclay in the 19th century. He received personal abuse and threats before signing the contract in June 2021, and Merseyside police investigated a banner that warned “We know where you live” but was left outside the wrong house near the Spaniard’s family home in Wirral.

The 61-year-old, however, received a warm ovation before his first home game at the helm but a dreadful run of form, a fall-out with Lucas Digne and tactics combined to turn many more against him. He leaves Everton just days after the club sold Digne to Aston Villa for £25m and following the departure of Marcel Brands as director of football and Danny Donachie as head of medical services.

Transfer News: Onel Hernandez Joins Birmingham On Loan

Birmingham City have announced this afternoon that Onel Hernandez has joined on loan from Norwich City.

The Cuban winger has agreed terms that will see him play the remainder of the 2021/22 Sky Bet Championship season in the Second City (subject to league and FA clearance) after spending the campaign’s first-half at Middlesbrough.

He checks in with two promotions to the Premier League as a Norwich player on his CV, having helped them to win the second division title on both occasions as he recorded 20 goal contributions in 73 outings at this level for the Canaries.

Hernandez went on to be the first Cuban to take to the field in the Premier League and the first of his countrymen to net in the English top flight when he scored against 20-times champions Manchester United.

Prior to his arrival in England, the 28-year-old had forged a career in Germany, the country to which he emigrated from his homeland as a child. This saw him represent a number of clubs at youth level, going professional with the last of these, Arminia Bielefeld, under the stewardship of former Middlesbrough, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool player Christian Ziege.

Further senior action at SV Werder Bremen II and VfL Wolfsburg II in the Regionalliga Nord, as well as for 2. Bundesliga club Eintracht Braunschweig followed to the tune of 153 appearances before he was lured to Carrow Road by Daniel Farke in January 2018.

After a number of successful years under the German’s management in East Anglia, the international was loaned to Middlesbrough last August where he appeared 18 times for the Teessiders.

Transfer News: No Bids Yet For Cantwell According To Dean Smith

Norwich City have not had a bid for Todd Cantwell and Dean Smith has dismissed any conspiracy theory around his recent absence. 

Cantwell is available for selection for Saturday’s Premier League game at Carrow Road against Everton after making his return to training this week following a preiod of illness. 

The attacking midfielder’s future has been the subject of intense speculation, with Newcastle reportedly leading a fairly broad pack of potential suitors according to a reange of press speculation over the last 7 - 10 days. 

Norwich City Head Coach Dean Smith revealed at the Colney Training Centr on Friday that the Canaries are still awaiting any offers, and that fans should not read anything else into why he has missed the past three matches. 

“It hasn’t gone anywhere at the moment. If we had a bid for Todd then we would have to discuss it and decide what we want to do,” he said. “But until you get that bid you don’t have to do anything. There is always going to be speculation with your better players.

"I have been thoroughly transparent with what I am saying. He had a knee injury and then he has been ill. I wanted him to travel with us to West Ham but he came in and he was ill so he got sent home. 

“Todd is back training. He trained Wednesday and Thursday so he is back and available for the squad. At the moment he has had a stop start time in terms of playing since I have been here. He wasn’t ready for that first game when I put him straight back in.  

“Now he is starting to get back to where we want him to be. But he had a knee injury and then an illness that have stopped him training to get to the levels we know he is capable of.  

“There is certainly a quality player there.” 

Transfer News: Onel Hernandez To End Middlesbrough Loan Spell Early

Norwich City winger Onel Hernandez is set to leave Middlesbrough this month, Chris Wilder has confirmed.  

"Onel Hernandez is in talks with a couple of other clubs," Wilder confirmed to BBC Radio Tees. 

"Onel has been great for me, the same as Uche (Ikpeazu), great attitude but he’s a wide player who plays in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3, a 3-4-3 as a wide player.

The Cuban winger is already in talks with other clubs about his next move after seeing game time limited by Wilder's switch to a 3-5-2 formation. 

Hernandez, who has made 17 appearances for Boro in the Championship this season, isn't part of the Canaries' Premier League plans under Dean Smith at present. 

Neil Warnock signed him for the Teessiders in the summer but has subsequently departed and replaced by ex-Sheffield United man Wilder, who has overseen a dramatic uplift in performances and results.

Since Wilder's arrival at the club however, Hernandez' game time has largely come from the bench. Now Boro have allowed the 28-year-old to explore other opportunities which will then also allow them to do other business in the January transfer window.

"From a financial point of view, it’s quite a big number for somebody now at the top of the pitch whose game time will be limited.”

Transfer News: Norwich's Gassan Ahadme Completes Permanent Move To Burton

Burton Albion have signed Norwich City striker Gassan Ahadme on a permanent deal, as per a recent article on their official website.

The 21-year-old had previously spent the first half of the current season on loan with Portsmouth but has now cut short that temporary spell in order for Norwich to sell the Moroccan youth international to the Brewers.

Ahadme scored just once in 10 appearances for Pompey and will now be looking to improve his fortunes moving forwards at the Pirelli Stadium after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink bolstered his striking options.

Having been handed the number nine shirt, the striker will be expected to fill the void that was left by Kane Hemmings as he seeks to get his new side moving up the league standings in Sky Bet League One.

He becomes Burton’s second arrival of the transfer window after the signing of left back William Kokolo from Middlesbrough recently.

Transfer Rumour: Norwich Chasing 19 Year Old Non League Winger Ollie Tanner

Southampton, Watford and Norwich City are chasing Lewes sensation Ollie Tanner, Football Insider understands.

The 19-year-old winger has scored 12 goals already this season to put himself on the radar of the Premier League elite.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Southampton, Watford and Norwich have been making regular checks on Tanner.

They have registered their interest in signing him as they weigh up potential offers.

In November, the teenager put pen to paper on a new two-year deal with Lewes.

Lewes manager Tony Russell told club media (13 November) that Tanner “is a fantastic young talent who has already shown he has a bright future in the game.” 

Russell has been full of praise for the youngster this season and described him as “the best young player” he has “ever worked with”.

Tanner was an Arsenal and Charlton youth player before joining Bromley’s academy.

He rose up the ranks at the London club and made his debut aged 17 as a substitute in a 2-0 win at Sutton United.

The winger complete a move to Lewes in August of last year

Transfer Rumour: Norwich Interested In QPR Striker Dykes

Premier League side Norwich City are one of five sides currently in the race for Queens Park Rangers talisman Lyndon Dykes, as per TEAMtalk.

The 26-year-old has established himself as a hero for club and country this term, recording seven goals in 21 competitive appearances and even scoring in four consecutive World Cup qualifying games for Scotland earlier this season.

Although the Australia-born forward has been in competition with the likes of Andre Gray and Charlie Austin for a starting spot at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, he has established himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet and has attracted interest because of his rise in the English capital.

The Canaries, AFC Bournemouth, Burnley and Crystal Palace are all thought to be interested in a move for Dykes during the January window, with a potential step up to the Premier League on the horizon for the striker even without getting promoted with current promotion chasers QPR.

Cash-rich top-tier outfit Newcastle United are also said to be monitoring the 26-year-old’s situation, although no sides are reported to have launched a formal bid for his services at this stage.

Transfer Rumour: Leicester Looking To Todd Cantwell To Bolster Attacking Options

In their pursuit of added creative options, Leicester City seem to have fallen on one man, in the form of out-of-favour Englishman Todd Cantwell, currently of Norwich. 

The Foxes are thought to have joined the queue for the 23 year-old midfielder’s services, according to The Sun, with Norwich ready to let him go for as little as 15 million pounds this January as they look to fund signings of their own in an attempt to beat the drop.

Still young, Cantwell has struggled this season, but impressed when in the Premier League with the Canaries last season, and has all the tools to excel at the highest level. 

Having come through the ranks at Norwivch City at the same time as current in form Foxes fans favourite James Maddison, Leicester clearly hope the young player from Dereham can reignite his previously successful partnership.