WEBBER: City chief on transfer interest, squad makeover and Covid-19 financial hit
PUBLISHED: 20:31 13 July 2020 | UPDATED: 20:31 13 July 2020
Stuart Webber has warned serious suitors the bidding for Norwich City’s best young talent this summer starts at £20m each.
The club’s sporting director confirmed on Monday morning there are no bids on the table for the likes of Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey, Emi Buendia or Todd Cantwell.
Both Godfrey and Cantwell have already been linked with potential moves, both at home and abroad, while Aarons has been a staple in the transfer gossip columns since his City breakthrough.
Webber expects firm interest over the coming weeks, with Premier League clubs eyeing up the best Carrow Road gems.
“We are difficult to negotiate with when we are selling, and we hold all the cards on our young players,” he said. “Not one of them has less than three years left on their contracts. They owe us, we owe them.
“They are homegrown, and British players cost more. That is almost a Premier League tax these days. We are fortunate we have a few of them. I am sure there will also be interest in our younger ones.
“But that will be on our terms.
“If it is top clubs, like when Leicester came in for James Maddison, you have to respect they can pay him and us a lot of money, and the player has his own personal ambitions. But will we sell someone on the cheap just because they say they want to go? No chance.
“If you sign a contract a year ago it doesn’t mean you can swan off into the sunset.
“They are good guys. They care and the majority of their agents get it. Will there be interest? Of course, but on our terms. Has there been interest? No.
“The staff here know I am fair and it won’t be deluded figures we ask for, but we also need good characters to get us back up.
“We got just over £20m for James Maddison, after one season in the Championship, and we needed the money.
“So what I would be saying to people is please have a look at that before you pick up the phone to us. That has set the benchmark for our club.”
Webber believes a turnover of Daniel Farke’s squad is both healthy and badly needed after coming up a long way short in the Premier League.
“There will be changes. After three years it is probably natural to freshen it up. Whatever division we are in,” said the club’s sporting director. “Any player we recruit permanently has to be able to help us if we get back to the Premier League.
“Some of those departures will be on our terms and if it is time for players to go we will do that quickly.
“If I look at the three years as a whole we got lots right. For me the way I view this is I am passing through Norwich City and the only thing I need to do is leave this club much stronger than when I arrived. We are still on the road to do that.
“If the aim was solely to stay in the Premier League then we would have spent money we didn’t have - like the government do - and leave someone else down the line to pay. I won’t apologise for not risking this club’s future last summer.
“Hopefully with the financial drop off those who do stay here will be hungry to get back to the Premier League salaries.
“At the highest level it is about quality. At other levels you can get away with spirit and togetherness.
“You might get lucky for a season but you will be found out the next one maybe. Ultimately it is the quality of your player in the Premier League. That is why it comes down to me, because I built this squad.”
City failed miserably to prolong their relegation battle upon the resumption of elite level football after the three-month pause for the global pandemic.
Norwich head to Chelsea this evening looking for a first point since Southampton were the first visitors behind closed doors last month.
Webber estimates a £20m hole on the balance sheet as the financial ramifications continue to hit, in terms of the contraction in broadcast and matchday revenue.
“It looks around £20m, which depends on when fans come back into a stadium,” he said. “I saw there were 5,000 fans at a PSG friendly game over the weekend. I also see places like Snetterton letting some fans in so you hope this is a start. I did think to myself as I sat on a rammed plane to Romania for three and a half hours last week why can’t we sit in a football stadium outside for 90 minutes?
“There are some Covid challenges, and there will be a hole to fill. But the way our finances are mapped out we don’t have to worry about that now and we can do some bits of transfer business.
“We are in the best place, financially, since myself and Daniel have been here.”
MORE: Webber on why Farke is still his man, later on Monday on these channels