Report: U.S. youth Sebastian Soto set for Norwich City move from Hannover

U.S. youth international Sebastian Soto is set to move to English Premier League side Norwich City, according to German outlet Bild.

With Soto's contract at Hannover set to expire in a little over a month, he'll move on a free transfer, signing a three-year deal, according to the report. But because Soto's application for a work permit was denied, he'll be forced to go out on loan for the first year of the deal, and at present there is interest from German, Dutch and Belgian clubs.

Soto, 19, made five first team appearances for Hannover, and much was expected following an impressive set of performances for the U.S. U-20 side at least year's FIFA U-20 World Cup. But once it became apparent that Soto wouldn't sign a new deal with Hannover, his place in the first team was compromised with injuries and overall competition for places also playing a part.

Norwich is currently bottom of the Premier League standings, and is likely to be relegated back to the Championship, but Soto could be entering a favorable situation. Going on loan for a season would allow him more time to qualify for a work permit. It's worth noting that with the advent of Brexit, a new set of work permit rules will go into effect next year. The likely outcome being that players from the European Union will be subject to more stringent conditions instead of enjoying freedom of movement, which could level the playing field a bit for players like Soto.

Top scorer Teemu Pukki will be 31 years old by the time Soto's presumptive loan would end, which might put the American in a better position to contend for a starting spot, though the club did recently sign 23-year-old Luxembourg forward Danel Sinani.

Norwich also has some history of making smart use of player loans. Midfielder Todd Cantwell spent the back half of the 2017-18 season at Dutch side Fortuna Sittard, while center back Ben Godfrey spent that same campaign at League One club Shrewsbury Town, logging over 50 league and cup appearances. Both returned to become important contributors for the Canaries.

Soto signed with Hannover in 2018 after rising through the ranks at MLS side Real Salt Lake. He made a positive first impression at Hannover, scoring 17 goals in 24 appearances with Hannover's U-19 team during the 2018-19 season. He made his first team debut later in that campaign.