WEBBER: City chief has a warning for the vultures
PUBLISHED: 21:10 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 21:42 19 February 2020
Stuart Webber has news for any clubs looking to pick off Norwich City’s best talent. Think again.
City's sporting director confirmed on Wednesday there had been no offers last month despite endless transfer speculation around the likes of Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell and Ben Godfrey.
Webber is braced for more of the same whether or not the Canaries pull off a Premier League great escape.
"Let's see what the summer brings but it certainly won't be if anyone wants to go it will be easy," he said. "When I see this constant speculation and the assumptions if Norwich go down, or even if they don't, these players will be sold. Hang on a minute, when players were signing four and five year contracts, we couldn't turn around and say if you didn't perform we won't pay you the money.
"Likewise, if they do want a move they don't just go. People have short memories. We sold James Madison for over £20m when we were in the Championship.
"At that time, we were desperate for money. We're now in a situation whatever division we're in, we're not desperate for money so players will only ever go on our terms. Grant Hanley said something in the media a few weeks ago and it was sent to me, which was along the lines of this club doesn't owe the players anything and he's right. This club doesn't owe the players or staff or anyone anything. This club has given us all an opportunity. Every one of those players in our dressing room have had an opportunity and been fantastically rewarded for what they've achieved at the club so far."
Webber admitted January's daily transfer rumour mill was 'draining'.
"It was disappointing to have to deal with the constant speculation every day, whether it was Max, Todd, (Teemu) Pukki, (Emi) Buendia or Ben," he said. "Every day in the media this club or that club. I've been fortunate to work at one of these big clubs where if you want to buy a player you buy them.
"You don't mess around, you don't leak it in the Daily Star or the Sun. You get the deal done. All this noise around them is really hard for our players to contend with. I think it's hard for their families to contend with and I actually find it really disrespectful to our club, we're playing Premier League football. We've given every one of these players an opportunity.
"All we have proven at the minute is we are good enough to be 20th in the Premier League. And quite frankly, that's not where any of us want to be. It was a frustrating January because I think it breeds a little bit of distrust between everybody of whether there was a bid or whatever.
"If Tottenham or Arsenal or whoever want them they will come and get them. They don't need to mess around. Manchester United wanted Dan James. They went and got him. They've got that much power and money to do it. If Manchester United want one of our players they can afford them and attract them.
"It was a tough month, but they're still here. Which was no surprise to me. We understand our players and our staff want to work at the highest level possible. Absolutely. But there is a time for that.
"And you know, I'd asked for people to remember where they've come from, for the people around them to respect what this football club has done for everybody. You know, it's made people earn a lot of money and been able to play at the highest level with a coach that gives them unbelievable trust. Don't disrespect that and don't just think that I'm off in the summer. It doesn't work like that.
"It's about being good people, being respectful and you know what if the time comes that one of these massive clubs, linked every day, wants you no problem we will have a conversation.
"I look at the Liverpool game on Saturday, you look at some of their players, take Trent Alexander Arnold, that is what world class looks like. We've played other games where you see Harry Maguire, that is world class. That's a level that we should all want to sort of aspire to, whether that's me in my role wanting to aspire to be Michael Edwards, sporting director at Liverpool, because that's what world class looks like in my role, not what I've done so far, or whether it's players.
"I think it's about people remembering that and remembering the steps that it takes to get that and not just the ego of the people around them taking over."