Norwich City boss Chris Hughton gives nothing away about Celtic scouting trip
11:30 04 January 2013
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Chris Hughton has reassured Norwich City supporters that there is plenty of work going on behind the scenes to bolster the Canaries’ squad in the January transfer window.
Hughton’s presence at Celtic Park on Wednesday for the Bhoys’ 1-0 Scottish Premier League win over Motherwell fuelled speculation of an imminent bid for £5m-rated Israeli midfielder Beram Kayal.
Celtic’s English-bred striker Gary Hooper was the match-winner in midweek and inevitably became another in a lengthening list of potential forward additions linked with a New Year switch to Norfolk.
Hughton expects plenty more over the course of the next month, but the experienced Norwich boss aims to retain the element of surprise in his transfer dealings.
Chief executive David McNally told supporters earlier this week the Canaries have yet to lodge any firm bids and Hughton was coy when questioned on his scouting mission north of the border.
“There were 22 players that caught my eye. It was a good game and a wonderful atmosphere, but it is an opportunity to take in a different game – particularly one from outside our division – and also different players and different systems,” he said, with Hughton also electing to play a straight bat to fresh stories that Brighton’s Craig Mackail-Smith and Utrecht’s Jacob Mulenga are on his radar.
“They are two of numerous names that have been mentioned. As we continue to say, we have a scouting network that works all year round so it is inevitable that we are linked to players, we are no different to every other club in that respect.
“There is a correct way to do your work and that is behind-the-scenes. You can mention all the players you want but they are not our players.
“They are the responsibility of other clubs and I think it is respectful to only speak about facts, but I understand why names are being put to me.”
Hughton also acknowledged festive injuries to senior strikers Grant Holt and Steve Morison will only add to the growing transfer speculation, with the front duo again ruled out for this weekend’s FA Cup third round tie at Peterborough.
“It is a position which has been mentioned on plenty of occasions already,” he said.
“For us, it is about doing the work to determine where we feel we need to strengthen the squad and what the options are.
“I think perhaps the fact we have had Holty out for some games and now Stevie highlights that area a little bit more, but you have to be conscious you can bring in someone who is better than what we already have here.
“We do have players like Simeon (Jackson), who hasn’t played as much as he would have liked to, and young Harry Kane, who started at West Ham.”
Hughton was more candid on the prospect of any potential Carrow Road exits, with no firm interest yet lodged for any of his stars.
“No. We haven’t had any calls,” he said. “At this moment I wouldn’t be looking to let anybody out. My thoughts would be very much on who we can bring in. If there is somebody we feel is going to be beneficial and strengthen the squad or the team then we have to look to do that, but I am not desperate to lose anybody.”