Norwich City face a battle to hold onto player-of-the-year Gabby Sara in the transfer window, according to sporting director Stuart Webber.

The club chief revealed in a wide-ranging 50 minute interview with the Pinkun Sara's first season in England has attracted interest from 'big clubs'.

Sara arrived from south America last summer for a reported initial £6m as the first foray into a new market for the Canaries.

Webber is braced for big-money bids for the attacking midfielder.

This is a transcript from his sitdown at Carrow Road.

Sara suitors

The interest we've got in Sara is big at the minute, from big clubs. Everyone's worked out this is a top player, this is a proper player. I'm pretty sure we'll have a good chance to keep it in this summer. But we'll be under pressure from these clubs.

For our club it's been a huge step for us (to scout in south America). If I had been sat here in 2017 and said we would sign two players direct from south America I would probably have laughed. That's where we managed to build our infrastructure. And I think we've got the results of that.

I think even with (Marcelino) Nunez he showed enough to feel his second season could be quite exciting. He needs a break up because he has pretty much had 18 months of football. Even during the World Cup he played two friendlies for Chile, which was less than helpful, and he came back injured.

A rest is going to do him the world to good. But I think South America is going to become a big market for this club. And it's something that I'm so proud of the work done by Mariela (Nisotaki) and Lee (Dunn). We've got two full time scouts in South America who work incredibly hard. This has become possible because of them and their work, not because of me. I haven't got the time to be in South America. That's why we have a recruitment department.

The work they have done, the bravery they've shown, and fair play to Dean Smith as well because last summer when Lee is presenting Marcelino and Gabby to us, it was much easier for Dean to go, ‘I'd rather take a safer option and get an established Championship player’, but he saw the bigger picture for the club in terms of we need to recruit players that would be potential assets for us.

If we can get one right from that market, my God, it can open up that market to us big time. And that's what it's done. We have Portuguese twitter feeds and stuff like that. We're trying to really grow our brand out there.

Not from a point of view of trying to sell a load of shirts in Brazil, because we understand where we are in the pecking order as a football club. But it is about people knowing about us in south America and knowing that Norwich could be our gateway to a big club in Europe. That's great for us.

Rashica, Omobamidele interest

We turned down an offer in January for Andrew Omobamidele which was bigger than what we sold Ben Godfrey for (to Everton).

We're fortunate as a club that how we've run it, how we've tried to run it, is to make sure that we don't have a gun against our head. Sometimes we choose to sell the player, because it's the right thing maybe to reinvest in the squad.

Could I see a sale of (Milot) Rashica) this summer, for example? Yes. He's not going to want to come back and play in the Championship. He's had a really good season at Galatasaray. There's interest. That might be a sale that really suits us because it helps us, not necessarily in spending on the squad, but it might contribute to wages for a loan player, or it might be actually we can do a bit more on the infrastructure or we can keep in the bank for next year.

It is not always the case we sell one for £10m, we’re going to spend £10m. That's not our model. You have to be ready for a rainy day or for a difficult period. But the key for us is we don't have to sell. Is there a couple we would be willing to sell?

Are there maybe one or two we might not have a choice, like we had with Emi (Buendia) or James Maddison, where we didn't have a choice financially, but also we didn't have a choice because we had just finished 14th in the Championship and a Premier League club came with big money.

The player obviously at that point wants to go. Same with Emi. Aston Villa come in and of course he wants to go. Those scenarios can happen. But we will be able to get the best value for us, which is, important.

Time for Max Aarons to depart this summer?

He's one of our own right. He is also a person that I have a very, very strong relationship with. I remember him in my office having to give him a rollicking as a 17-year-old through to being there when he's lost someone very close to him and his family.

People on the outside might have this perception that we have these close relationship. Max needs to go. He needs to go. He's out-grown us. We can't help him anymore. And I hope he gets the move that I think he deserves. I think he's been really unlucky not to have got a move by now.

Probably Covid didn’t help, because maybe the finances of clubs dropped a little bit. Same happened with Todd (Cantwell). I thought Todd after that first Premier League season deserved the move, and I think had Covid not happened, he probably would have got one. But no offer came because I think everyone was like, ‘Hang on a minute we're in a world pandemic. We don't know when this is going to end and spending transfer fees wasn't necessarily people's priority’.

At least at that point for the type of club who maybe sign a Todd or a Max.

On Max, we are relaxed about that one. If we still had him next year, Max, what a great player to have, what a great guy to have. And if he even left then in a year on a free we're super relaxed because you know the club bought him for £10,000 from Luton. We would have well and truly got our money's worth for him.

But on the business side, and what I truly believe is right for Max, and probably what's right for the team as well it is time to freshen it up. I think if the right offer came this summer it could be really good for all parties.