James Maddison sale averted a ‘disaster’ at Norwich City
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Norwich City’s sporting director Stuart Webber admits it would have been a ‘disaster’ if James Maddison’s club record move was wrecked through injury.
The Canaries have sealed a Premier League reunion with the Leicester City midfielder next season after clinching promotion from the Championship.
City now need a point from Sunday’s league finale at Aston Villa to be crowned champions.
That contrasts sharply with the situation exactly 12 months ago, when Maddison suffered knee ligament damage in a final day mauling at Sheffield Wednesday that threatened to scupper a top flight move.
Maddison’s big money exit was essential for the club to deal with the financial fallout following the end of parachute payments.
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“Listen, that would have been a disaster. No other way of dressing that up,” said Webber, speaking at Colney on Thursday. “I remember going down at half-time (at Hillsborough) and speaking to the physios and you get that look of, ‘This isn’t going to be good news’ before you even start to speak.
“Then the next two or three days were nervous until he had his scan and it wasn’t as bad as first thought.
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“That Sunday night was not good. We were being slagged off for getting beat five at Sheffield Wednesday and we didn’t know how long James would be out for.
“The transfer hadn’t been agreed. We had not even spoken to a club but if he had been out for nine months or whatever then the deal would not have happened.
“We would probably have had to sell more players to cover off the gap of him staying here.”
Webber revealed Maddison was one of the first to congratulate him after Norwich clinched promotion by beating Blackburn last week.
“He was one of the first text messages I got the other day. That sums him up. He was the same with a lot of the staff here,” he said. “He is a genuinely great guy but when someone leaves it creates opportunities for others.
“We could have cried and moaned and said we have lost our best player. We have no chance.
“Or we knew it was going to happen for months. We had no excuse but to be prepared. We were preparing for life without James. It gave us an opportunity to strengthen in different areas and create maybe more a team.
“It worked out for both. James got himself a good move to Leicester and we have had a pretty successful season. It is a pretty nice story.
“James is a top player who will play for England and for me a Champions League club at some point.”