Gunn: The fact is that money talks
David Cuffley Norwich City boss Bryan Gunn admits that relegation has damaged his chances of bringing Jason Shackell and Alan Lee back to the club next season.
Norwich City boss Bryan Gunn admits that relegation has damaged his chances of bringing Jason Shackell and Alan Lee back to the club next season.
Gunn confirmed before the end of the season that he would love to re-sign Wolves defender Shackell - who moved to Molineux in a reported �1m deal last August - while Crystal Palace striker Lee has already made it plain he would like to return to Carrow Road despite the Canaries dropping into League One.
But the City boss said the financial reality of relegation made it much tougher to convert two of his more successful loan signings into permanent recruits.
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Hopes of adding two seasoned performers to the senior squad were raised as Shackell, 25, played the final 14 games of the Championship campaign after arriving on loan in February, while Lee, 30, scored twice in seven outings.
“That was my hope at the end of last season had we stayed in the Championship,” said Gunn.
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“But we didn't and it will be tougher for that reason. Financially we need to be realistic. These guys have got contracts at a Premier League and a Championship club. They are both under contract for the next two years.
“Being in League One is going to make it more difficult to attract them than it was before.
“We are investigating it. I have spoken to Mick McCarthy and Neil Warnock but there is nothing more to add.”
Wolves boss McCarthy has said he plans to offload Shackell as he prepares for life in the Premier League, but returning to Norwich would mean the centre-back dropping two divisions.
Lee cost Palace �600,000 when he move from Ipswich last summer and Warnock would look to recoup some of that outlay.
Said Gunn: “The financial side could be the problem. We are still an attractive club for players to come to but it would be a big commitment for us.
“We have to do this in a sensible way to build a squad to be competitive in the league.
“Alan has nailed his colours to the mast but at the moment we need to be realistic. If greater finance becomes available that would give us a better opportunity but it is important to realise what we are working with.”
Reports have suggested a swap deal may be set up with Palace involving Lee and forward Wes Hoolahan, who has also been linked with Sheffield Wednesday, while midfielder Sammy Clingan has been linked with Cardiff, who last week snapped up City goalkeeper David Marshall for an undisclosed six-figure fee.
But Gunn said there had been no inquiries for Clingan or Hoolahan.
“My view is that is speculation. There have been no phone calls to me or the club secretary, Kevan Platt, regarding those players,” he said.
“But it's plain to me - what I said last week is that we have to make sure Norwich City's interests come first.
“There is no guarantee they will stay but no guarantee they will go. We certainly hold all the right cards.”
Gunn met his senior players individually last week to find out who wants to stay or go, before informing the directors, but would not comment further.
He said: “I won't divulge what was said between manager and player. They were honest enough to tell me straight about what they want to do and I must respect that, so that will remain between ourselves.”
With striker Carl Cort's contract terminated by mutual consent, the future of two more out-of-contract players is likely to be announced this week, with Gunn planning to talk to goalkeeper Stuart Nelson and midfielder Simon Lappin.
Winger Lee Croft is now off City's radar after turning down a new deal, with Derby favourites to sign him.
“I have had a text from Lee but nothing to confirm where he is going. Lee has the option to speak to as many people as he wants to,” said Gunn. “He will want his future sorted out and now we have to concentrate on the players who want to be here.”