Connor Southwell: The inside story on Aarons' summer at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Borussia Dortmund's late attempt to convince Norwich City into a loan move for Max Aarons failed, so what next for the right-back?
The German outfit join Barcelona and Roma in failing to convince the Canaries to sanction an exit for their highly-rated academy graduate after seeing a loan to buy offer hastily rejected by Norwich.
Despite interest from some of Europe's top clubs, Aarons has remained professional and not thrown his toys from the pram. City are hoping to reward that loyalty with a new deal for the 21-year-old.
It may have been a quieter summer than many expected when it comes to speculation surrounding his future, but Aarons remains settled and happy at Carrow Road.
Were Norwich surprised to keep Aarons?
Irrespective of his talent, there is an acceptance that given the current state of the market due to Covid, that teams may well have preferred to be patient over signing Aarons.
Given the fee that Norwich would demand for their right-back at present, that is a steep ask for any side and particularly hard to justify spending £30m plus on a full-back who has only one season of experience in the Premier League.
There is also the feeling that clubs may be displaying patience as they want to watch him perform in the Premier League for a full season before making any big money offers.
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The only evidence of Aarons performing at the top level is two seasons ago, when he featured heavily in a Norwich side that racked up 21 points and were relegated on the back on ten successive defeats.
More performances like Leicester City, when he defended tremendously against Harvey Barnes, is bound to increase interest. Norwich are extremely relaxed but also realistic that a move away from Carrow Road will happen at some point. As was the case with Jamal Lewis, Ben Godfrey, Emi Buendia and others.
Very few situations in the transfer market have the capability to surprise Norwich, who were planned should a club have met their valuation for Aarons this summer.
Ultimately, selling Buendia so early on in the summer merely strengthened their hand when it came to keeping Aarons and Todd Cantwell.
Did anyone make enquiries?
In terms of concrete offers, the only reported bid was from Borussia Dortmund on the penultimate day of the transfer window.
It would have taken a significant offer at that stage of the window to tempt the Canaries into any sale and a loan with a view to buy simply isn't a proposal that City would consider.
Barcelona experienced the same swift rebuttal when they made a similar offer for Aarons 12 months ago. Unless that bid contained an obligation that guaranteed money at the end of the loan, then it wouldn't be a viable option for City to dispense of one of their biggest assets for a year without the guarantee of a financial benefit.
Everton displayed strong interest during the early part of the summer, but that cooled after Carlo Ancelotti elected to join Real Madrid. The Italian was extremely keen to bring the 21-year-old to Goodison Park as a long term replacement for Seamus Coleman.
Rafa Benitez' arrival saw the end of that pursuit, with the Spaniard preferring a different profile of right-back. It's thought Aarons' height was a concern to the former Liverpool, Newcastle and Napoli coach - a view that was shared by Jose Mourinho during his time at Spurs.
The other parties whose interest is known to City are Tottenham, who have watched Aarons' development for years, and Atletico Madrid but neither formalised that interest with a bid this summer.
Spurs signed Barcelona right-back Emerson Royal whilst Atletico retained Kieran Trippier despite links to Manchester United.
Should City be worried about January?
Norwich don't really get concerned about losing their top talents, to an extent, it is a matter of when and not if Aarons takes the next step of his career.
But, in Aarons, City have a player who completely understands Norwich's stance and isn't itching for a move away. The right-back has been a model professional despite links to and offers from some of Europe's major clubs.
Neither party are going to force the wrong move. If an offer arrives that meets the Canaries' valuation and presents a step up for Aarons, then a move will materialise. Until that point arrives, the defender trusts the club and knows they will do right by him.
Selling young players and not standing in their way is part of City's model. It's the reason they are able to tempt young players to join them. As a self-financing club, it's an intrinsic part of how they operate.
Stuart Webber has proven since his arrival back in 2017 that he is capable of generating high fees for City's assets, and Aarons would command one greater than both James Maddison and Ben Godfrey.
Until then, City have a top young right-back in their side who is dedicated to the cause.
Any chance of a new contract?
Aarons' current deal is set to expire in 2024 and despite the speculation surrounding his future, it is understood that both parties would be open to extending terms if the opportunity arrived.
That is a testament to the trust both parties share but also how switched on Aarons is in his own career. There is no rush to agree a fresh contract, however, with City set to take stock of their squad's individual situations now the window has closed.
Aarons is currently in line with City's new additions when it comes to contract length, but another deal would preserve his value and reward his contribution to the club.