Could City see their transfer record broken this summer?

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 August 2020

The sale of James Maddison was a necessity for Daniel Farke - not, perhaps, the case now with his more valuable players 
Picture: Liam McAvoy/Focus Images Ltd

The sale of James Maddison was a necessity for Daniel Farke - not, perhaps, the case now with his more valuable players Picture: Liam McAvoy/Focus Images Ltd

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Norwich City’s model has been constructed on the basis of maximising profits for players sold.

Under Stuart Webber, City have amassed a significant amount of cash for their stars.

Some of those deals were born from necessity, others from personal ambition, but the Canaries find their financial position healthier than what Webber inherited upon his arrival at Carrow Road.

When James Maddison departed City to join Leicester City for a fee in excess of £20million, the Canaries set a precedent for selling their highly-rated talents.

That was a deal brokered with the club staring into a financial abyss, The ramifications of not selling Maddison were stark, Daniel Farke would have seen an axe being taken to his squad.

Manchester United's pursuit of Jadon Sancho is a different ball game Picture: PAManchester United's pursuit of Jadon Sancho is a different ball game Picture: PA

As Liverpool discovered with their public pursuit of Jamal Lewis, City won’t entertain offers that don’t meet the benchmark they’ve set with Maddison’s departure, particularly when they are in a position whereby sales aren’t a necessity.

The perception of City’s rejection to the Premier League champions has been wide-ranging, but Canaries supporters were pleased to see the club stick to the party line Webber outlined last month.

City will hold firm in their valuations of their young stars and won’t sell for an offer that fails to match their assessment of a player, regardless of the calibre of the buying club.

A frenzy of speculation has surrounded the young assets at Carrow Road to date, with more rumours undoubtedly to come prior to the end of the window.

Robbie Brady - sold for big money to Burnley Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdRobbie Brady - sold for big money to Burnley Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

With the Canaries reportedly demanding hefty fees for their talent, could this be the season that City break their record in terms of money received for a player?

The rumour mill is always noisy, but sometimes trends can be detected. Beyond eye-watering figures cited in Manchester United’s quest to sign Jadon Sancho or Chelsea’s pursuit of Kai Havertz, many expect it to be a conservative window for the vast majority of clubs as they feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Max Aarons, one of those young jewels in City’s crown, has already been the subject of a report suggesting the club would be willing to listen to loan offers with an obligation to buy in 12 months.

On the surface, that seems a preposterous suggestion – but without a concrete date for the widespread return to supporters in stadiums, then many clubs will opt for sensible additions rather than expensive ones.

City sold the Murphy twins to Newcastle United and Cardiff City respectively. Picture: Simon Galloway/PA ImagesCity sold the Murphy twins to Newcastle United and Cardiff City respectively. Picture: Simon Galloway/PA Images

We’ve already seen clubs look to cut costs. In the Championship, AFC Bournemouth and Bristol City have opted to make internal managerial appointments.

Beyond the football clubs that possess the security of a commercial arm that is constantly in a state of proliferation, the situation has become desperate, even Premier League regulars Burnley are forecasting a £50million loss caused by Covid.

For more modest clubs, the aim will be about securing financial stability and balancing the books.

The Premier League gravy train has been brought to a devastating halt.

Norwich City Sporting Director Stuart Webber will drive a hard bargain for the club's top talent this summer.  
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdNorwich City Sporting Director Stuart Webber will drive a hard bargain for the club's top talent this summer. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Even for a club like Arsenal, who earn 24 per cent of their annual revenue from matchday income, the reality of them departing with a hefty sum to recruit a top-talent is unlikely.

Transfer deals are more complex than the fee that ends up getting reported.

These transactions are structured often over a few seasons, with various clauses having the potential to be activated years after a player is first pictured holding the club shirt.

Whether clubs opt to commit to higher instalments down the line to get deals across the line this summer remains to be seen, but those at the top will continue to spend whilst others cling on for dear life to their club.

Craig Bellamy left the Canaries to join Coventry City for a hefty fee in 2000. Picture: ArchantCraig Bellamy left the Canaries to join Coventry City for a hefty fee in 2000. Picture: Archant

The decision for the Canaries is whether they decide to accept the unprecedented times and buckle or stand firm and wait for the market to repair itself – as it will in a climate where completing a transfer is the difference between keeping supporters on board or losing their trust.

But that does come with a risk, if those players don’t perform in the Championship and the Canaries flop – then they may be forced into a position where it becomes a financial necessity to sell and the cards aren’t dealt in their favour.

City have never been in a position where they’ve had so many assets in one group, particularly one that, in terms of points, was so inadequate in the Premier League.

The direction the Canaries opt to travel in from here will be intriguing, but given their model is one that is funded by player sales – can they afford not to sell this summer?

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