Jacob Murphy and Norwich City better get used to the attention
- Credit: PA
That Jacob Murphy would interest Premier League clubs should surprise no-one. The pertinent question is how Norwich City respond to any tangible interest and how much they value this homegrown talent.
Murphy, along with his twin, Josh, plus perhaps Alex Pritchard and James Maddison are the Canaries’ prized assets; young, technically gifted and capable of massive improvement over these coming seasons.
Murphy, Jacob that is, was heavily touted with a clutch of top flight suitors prior to penning a new, longer term Carrow Road deal in November. It was less the length of the contract, until at least 2021, and more Murphy’s reaction to the news which should reassure worried City fans regarding the latest speculation triggered by some eye-catching cameos in an England Under-21 shirt.
The attacking wide player, and occasional right wing-back for his country of late, insisted Norwich was the best possible environment at this point in a career which only really flickered into life over the past campaign as he flourished in City’s first team.
Murphy may well have been able to engineer a move to the Premier League last season, instead of signing a new Norwich contract, but whether he is ready and whether he would fall by the wayside like so many of his precocious peers is a moot point.
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Nevertheless there are always other actors in any possible transfer saga. The depth of attraction from a potential buyer and the willingness to resist from his parent club are often polar opposites reconciled in fertile financial ground.
Stuart Webber will know the value of each and every member of the current Norwich squad and his initial approach to squad makeovers leads you to suggest any rivals wishing to purchase the club’s best and brightest assets will need deep pockets.
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City is working in a difficult financial environment until, and if, they can engineer a Premier League return. Alex Neil was brutally honest in the last January transfer window when revealing the departures of Martin Olsson and Robbie Brady also had a balancing dimension to the accounts. That trend will become more marked with each passing transfer window.
Everyone in City’s set-up has a price; whether it be Jacob Murphy or Jonny Howson. But in the young man’s case that will be far in excess of the reported £7m the likes of Crystal Palace or Southampton are willing to part with.
It is hardly a revelation a prestigious tournament such as the European Under-21 Championships - a showcase for some of the continent’s most promising players - would attract armies of scouts. Murphy will not be the only English player on their radar.
Such recognition underlines his breakthrough campaign at Carrow Road. The fearsome long range rocket he unleashed at Blackburn on the opening weekend was a signal of intent. There was inevitable dips in a rich seam of productivity as the relentless nature of Championship combat took a toll, but there is no doubt Murphy has the potential to play at the highest level. But potential is what it remains and unless firm offers reach irresistible proportions Murphy and Norwich look a perfect match for now. He need only cast a glance around the England U21 camp in Poland towards another young wide player with strong Norfolk connections.
Nathan Redmond is a year older than the Murphy twins but was an established first team performer by his late teens. The Birmingham-bred starlet could have jumped when his first season at Norwich ended in relegation but he stayed and played a pivotal role in the Championship fightback. Faced with the same career dilemma 12 months later, the time was right to move on.
Murphy would do well not to be distracted by any of the current media noise. He is a young man who will reach the Premier League if he continues to progress at an accelerated rate. Norwich should also resist any temptation to cash in. Webber already knows that. He also knows Murphy’s market value and that stock will rise considerably should the 22-year-old continue to play a lead role under Daniel Farke.
There will come a point when both parties may have a decision to make. But that is not now. Not this summer. Not unless the Premier League pack can tempt City with a serious offer.