Grant Hanley Norwich City deal was not a panic buy
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber insists Grant Hanley’s signing was not a panic measure after a rocky Championship start.
The Scottish international is yet to make his full debut for the Canaries despite a high-profile summer arrival following a heavy 4-0 Championship defeat at Millwall.
Timm Klose and Christoph Zimmermann have forged a formidable pairing in a defence which played a key role in a new club record run of consecutive league clean sheets. Webber, however, is adamant the former Newcastle United powerhouse was on City’s radar for months.
“The timing of it, after Millwall, looks pretty reactionary, and if we had won 4-0 we might not have pushed the button. I still think we would have signed Grant Hanley though,” said Webber.
“Grant was a player we looked at all summer. Our head of recruitment, Kieran Scott, was speaking to his agent all summer and we were keeping it spinning, but we wanted to wait for when the price reached a more sensible level for us.
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“We felt maybe we were one, British-hardened, centre back short in our squad. We had Timm, who by his own admission, didn’t have a hugely successful first Championship season. Christoph was coming to it fresh, Marcel Franke had never played at this level.
“Grant is 25 so this is a signing for the medium- to long-term as well as the here and now. He had a season at Newcastle when he was in and out and two outstanding centre-halves kept him out of the team, but we have yet to concede a goal when he has been on the pitch, albeit that is not a lot of minutes.”
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Webber chalks up six months as City’s football figurehead over the current international break.
“It has been a challenge,” he said. “In terms of the turnover in staff that has been much bigger than I expected, the turnover of players not so much.
“That was the least daunting bit, but the financial situation we are in now and what it could be in the future is a massive challenge. That is why it is paramount myself and Steve Stone work closely together to plan and make sure the transition without parachute payments (at the end of this season) is soft as possible to allow Daniel and his staff to focus on the players.
“It is a challenge I am enjoying and embracing and looking forward to conquering. That is the aim.”