City could have afforded striker

PUBLISHED: 14:15 25 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:31 14 September 2010

JONATHAN REDHEAD

Norwich City could have afforded to buy new Derby County striker Steve Howard - but in the end decided he was not worth the money. The 30-year-old front man moved to the Canaries' Coca-Cola Championship rivals for £1m from Luton Town at the weekend, after City boss Nigel Worthington signalled his interest in the player and made a bid of his own.

Norwich City could have afforded to buy new Derby County striker Steve Howard - but in the end decided he was not worth the money.

The 30-year-old front man moved to the Canaries' Coca-Cola Championship rivals for £1m from Luton Town at the weekend, after City boss Nigel Worthington signalled his interest in the player and made a bid of his own.

But after disappointment for the manager and fans in seeing another top transfer target slip through the net, club chairman Roger Munby revealed that City could have forked out a seven-figure sum to entice Howard to Carrow Road.

However, after admitting it was “reasonably frustrating” to see Howard make the switch to Pride Park, Munby declared that he did not think the big target man was worth his big price tag.

“It is reasonably frustrating because we'd looked at him quite carefully, although he's not the only one,” City's chairman said. “The only saving grace is that he's gone for an amount of money well beyond his worth, in our view.

“As with every target, there are limits to what we can spend, but we could have afforded him.”

Munby's admission that Worthington could have splashed out £1m is the first clue to the amount of money the City boss has in his back pocket to spend, with a big target man the first priority.

Up until now other City officials and Munby himself have remained fairly tight-lipped on the manager's transfer kitty.

But after seeing a move for Howard fall by the wayside, the Canaries face going into their first league game at Leeds, in less than a fortnight, with no new signings in the squad.

So far City have yet to add a new face to their senior squad, and have only re-signed Scottish goalkeeper Paul Gallacher on a two-year contract and recruited former England Under-19 boss Martin Hunter as a new first team coach.

A month ago, Munby urged fans not to fret about the absence of new signings as Worthington's men prepared to report for pre-season training.

Four weeks on, Munby is still not worried about the lack of transfer activity and said he was confident things would happen - even though fans could have to wait until near the close of the transfer window at the end of August for any movement.

His message to fans, the manager, and players like Darren Huckerby, who have voiced concerns about the lack of new men, was to stay calm.

“I am still confident we'll get players in,” he said. “We want to push as hard as we can to secure the best deals, but we have the basis of a very good squad.

“Our search for players and scouting has been going on since March and April. Now we've got five more weeks - that's the bargaining period.

“It would be good to have key players in by the start of pre-season and before the start of the season.

“But we've played four pre-season games and won three of them. Things are going quite well and that's a good basis.”

Although he did not name any names, the chairman said lots of work was going on behind the scenes to attract new stars to Carrow Road.

“Of course we don't give too much away, but that's a fact of life, I'm afraid, and we can't put these things into the public domain.”

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