A word of warning from Aarons’ mentor amid Barca pursuit
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The man who set Max Aarons on the path to the very top is urging Norwich City’s coveted full-back not to rush his next career move, despite transfer interest from Barcelona and Europe’s elite.
Former Canaries’ academy chief Gregg Broughton brought both Aarons and Jamal Lewis to Norfolk after first spotting their huge potential working at Luton.
Lewis sealed his big money move to Newcastle after a summer where he was touted with Liverpool.
Aarons is now on Barca’s shortlist, along with Ajax’s Sergino Dest, although City have made it clear they are unwilling to sanction a loan without an obligation to buy.
Broughton accepts the chance of joining the iconic Catalan club would tempt any player but has a word of warning for the 20-year-old.
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“The most important thing for any young player is that their career continues to move forward, and to do that you have to play football,” he said. “The moment they get a year out because they have to have a year on the bench or they are simply not playing enough I don’t think that is the right career move.
“I don’t know the intricacies or the ins and outs of Barcelona’s interest in Max but if Barcelona have told Max’s representatives you are going to play regular football it is a fantastic move. Even if it didn’t work out he has played for Barcelona.
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“That is why it was great to see Jamal’s debut for Newcastle at West Ham. Fantastic, he is going to be in the team. Steve Bruce has made him that promise so irrelevant to the size of the club if you are playing football it is the right move.
“Watching from afar has been a little bit surreal.
“The surrealness starts when you see Jamal head a goal in against Chelsea a few years ago in the FA Cup or watch Max playing the first day of last season at a packed Anfield. This is just the next stage of the journey for these boys.”
Broughton is now academy director at runaway Norwegian leader leaders, FK Bodø Glimt.
“I believed in them both,” he said. “You can never look at a nine or 10 year old and say they will play in the Premier League. What you can do, I think, is say if everything goes right they will be a good player at 14 or 15 and then when they reach that age say the same when they are 19 or 20.
“But you can only be a bit more bullish in terms of predicting what they can achieve when they are on the cusp of that first contract.
“Max and Jamal came in at the age of 16 to Norwich.
“To say then either would be so important to a side that won a Championship title and then played in the Premier League, or now they would be linked with the clubs they are and the move Jamal achieved I don’t think you could have said that. The same with Adam Idah when we brought him in at 16, we were very bullish about his pathway, or Ben Godfrey at nearly 17 from York.”
• Hear more from Broughton on these channels on Friday why City’s academy success is the envy of the game and trying to repeat the trick at Alex Tettey’s old club in Norway