Norwich are closing in on the signing of Billy Gilmour on loan from Chelsea.
The Scotland midfielder has agreed to join the Canaries for the 2021-22 season, and is expected to undergo a medical following his Covid-19 quarantine later this week.
Gilmour tested positive while at the Euros with Scotland and will end his 10-day isolation on Thursday. He starred on his full international debut against England on June 18, producing a man-of-the-match performance in the goalless draw at Wembley.
Chelsea are open to the idea of Gilmour going out on loan to play regularly next season but they see his long-term future at Stamford Bridge.
The 20-year-old made 11 appearances for Chelsea last season, five of which came in the Premier League.
Norwich have already signed goalkeeper Angus Gunn and Kosovo winger Milot Rashica as they prepare for life back in the top flight.
Norwich’s return to the Premier League will begin with Liverpool visiting Carrow Road on the opening day of the season, live on Sky Sports.
Souness: Gilmour must follow Foden’s path
Graeme Souness believes Gilmour should follow Phil Foden’s example at Manchester City and remain at Chelsea to challenge for first-team football rather than head out on loan.
Souness told Sky Sports News: “I’d personally keep him at Chelsea. I think Jorginho has to be looking over his shoulder. He’ll be challenging him more than anyone else. I look at Phil Foden at City and Pep didn’t let him go out on loan.
“I look back on my own career and think how did I improve – there was no words of wisdom, no sentence any coach said to me, there was no watershed moment in my career where I turned a corner.
“What made me better, I was 23, went to Liverpool, arguably the best team in the world – certainly the best team in Europe – and I was playing with fabulous players in training every single day.
“I learnt to think quicker, to improve my touch, move the ball quicker and just being around winners – Chelsea have got bundles of them – that will improve him more than playing in a lesser team where it’s a battle every week. That’s how I see it, Phil Foden is an argument for that.”
Foden made 50 appearances in all competitions for City in 2020-21, with the 21-year-old seeing his role increased following the departure of David Silva, while he was often favoured over Raheem Sterling in the latter parts of the season.
It was comfortably Foden’s best season for City, almost doubling his minutes from the previous campaign, while nine goals in the Premier League saw him named PFA Young Player of the Year.
Meanwhile, Gilmour began the season out with a knee injury but went on to make those 11 appearances, starting Chelsea’s first four FA Cup games as well as league matches against Fulham, City and Arsenal in May.
Souness believes Gilmour has the potential to become a “fabulous” player, with the Scot only making his international debut just before Euro 2020 in a warm-up fixture against the Netherlands.
“He was willing to take the ball in tight areas,” Souness said. “There was so much to admire [against England]. I was concerned about the tempo of the game and was thinking he’d blow up but he didn’t.
“He showed real character and wanted to be the boss on the pitch. That’s at 20 years old at Wembley in a team that didn’t do well in their first game. If that’s his level he’s going to be a fabulous little player.”