BY TOBY PORTER
Millwall could not match the moneybags offer which Championship rivals Norwich made to winger Ben Marshall, manager Neil Harris has revealed.
The 27-year-old wide man signed a four-year deal for Canaries’ boss Daniel Farke on Friday, after the Carrow Road outfit hijacked the Lions’ bid for him.
Harris had made what would have been a club record £1.3million bid for the Wolves man’s services, after he starred in the Den club’s phenomenal 17-game unbeaten league run which took them within touching distance of the play-offs last season.
The former Blackburn star adapted well to the gritty atmosphere at The Den – and fitted in well to the Lions dressing room – with some all-action displays, and three goals, as well as five assists. But Norwich had a kitty of £33million burning a hole in their pockets and are estimated to have more than matched Harris’ offer, as well as offering the player massively higher wages.
Boss Farke had been unable to resist the £12m on offer from Newcastle for Jacob Murphy, the £11m from Cardiff for Josh Murphy and the £22m from Leicester for James Maddison.
But they see Marshall as a replacement, after he proved what a huge asset he is at Championship level last season.
Harris said: “We wish Ben the best at Norwich. It is a great opportunity for him – a fantastic deal. We made no secret that we wanted him and made a substantial offer to Wolves.
“We tried very hard to get him. We have been admirers of him all summer. We really appreciated his efforts last season. He was great for us. I have nothing but praise for the lad. We wish him the best of luck with his new club.
“But the result has been a reality check for us. We just cannot compete with the kind of money they were offering on the back of selling £33million worth of players.
“The chairman, John Berylson, was unbelievably supportive. But however much he backed me with our bid, the Financial Fair Play rules mean we could not go above a certain level.
“Norwich simply blew us away. We did not just look at him as an option, though. We admire him but have been working behind the scenes on other options while this has been going on.
“We have other targets with the potential to come in and we are busy following those up. We want to add to the squad in attacking areas. But we are really pleased with the players we have – Aiden O’Brien looks really fit, strong and lively. Jed Wallace had a great season, Shane Ferguson looks hungry, with a point to prove and Fred Onyedinma can play either wide or an option up front.”