Canaries must be ready for ‘very different’ transfer market, warns Webber mentor

Damien Comolli during his time as director of football at Liverpool Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Damien Comolli during his time as director of football at Liverpool Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Football’s next transfer window will be “very different” due to financial problems and plummeting values, according to a man who played a key role in the development of Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber.

Damien Comolli, who had spells as director of football at Tottenham and Liverpool, has given his views on the impact of the coronavirus shutdown on the transfer market - with clubs braced for big losses.

With the global economy in a fragile state amid the pandemic, it remains to be seen how much of an impact that will have on football’s finances, with City potentially seeing millions of pounds of player value lost ahead of potentially needing to sell prized assets to remain self-sufficient, if relegation does follow when the season eventually concludes.

The Canaries are understood to be preparing for a loss in the region of £15million and are using the government’s Job Retention Scheme to cover 80 percent of wages for off-field staff who have been furloughed, paying the remaining 20pc to ensure staff continue to receive 100pc of wages.

Prior to the shutdown City’s finances were on course for a profit of around £16m for the 2019-20 financial year as senior staff continue rebuilding financial health, after promotion had been achieved in 2018-19 amid a £38m loss, leaving the self-funded club in a steady situation even with relegation straight back to the Championship still a strong possibility.

Canaries chief Webber worked under Comolli at Liverpool as head of academy recruitment and the former senior scout for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal reportedly gave the City board a glowing reference ahead of Webber’s appointment in March 2017.

“I think there will be very little cash available,” the Frenchman explained, talking to Sky Sports. “An agent was telling me the other day, that there are actually only three clubs in the Premier League that will be able to spend money next summer in the transfer window.

“I don’t know if this is correct but when agents tell you things like this, they usually get intel. So if that’s the case then I think the transfer window will be very different.

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“We might see very little transfer activity, we might see swaps, we might see loans and I think we are going to see a massive decrease in transfer fees and transfer activity, at least transfers involving money.

“The longer this crisis goes on, more clubs are going to be in a financially difficult situation, the first thing that will be impacted will be player remuneration, the second thing will be transfer fees.”

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Daniel Farke’s team are six points from safety with nine games remaining and the Premier League has made clear that the intention is to conclude the season when it is safe to do so, rather than void the campaign.

While relegation would bring a huge drop in income, City’s players would see their wages drop accordingly and prized assets such as Emi Buendia, Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell and Ben Godfrey could be sold for big money if the books need to be balanced.

Respected statistical website Transfermarkt estimates that value of Premier League players has decreased by around 20pc however, putting City’s squad value down 15.3pc from £141m to £119m so far - valuing Aarons and Cantwell the highest at £18m apiece.

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