'No way back' for Safri
CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant launched a blistering attack on midfielder Youssef Safri last night - and said the fans' favourite will never play for the club again.
Peter Grant launched a blistering attack on midfielder Youssef Safri last night - and said the fans' favourite will never play for the club again.
Safri infuriated the City boss after he failed to turn up for the club's traditional pre-season photo-shoot on Monday.
The Moroccan was fined a week's wages and left out of the squad for last night's pre-season friendly against West Ham at Carrow Road, which the Canaries lost 2-1
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And it seems Safri - who is reportedly interesting City's Championship rivals Southampton - has played his last game in the yellow and green.
“Saff phoned us yesterday morning and said he was picking up an agent,” said Grant.
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“Unfortunately he forgets he has training in the morning. He knew it was the picture in the afternoon, and I don't go chasing players.
“When players turn up late, game over. Saff has been fined and dealt with, left out of the squad tonight.
“I think it is about time Youssef told the truth. Since I came here Youssef's agents have been wanting him away from here. From the second day I came in here, they said they had agreed it with the manager prior. I found out he hadn't agreed that.
“I told the press to go and ask Youssef to get all the right answers and you got all the wrong answers. He tells you how much he loves the club and how much he wants to be here. The first time he disrespected me was yesterday when he didn't turn up on time. To me, once he disrespects his team-mates there is no way back.”
Asked whether Safri would play for him again, Grant said simply: “Hopefully not.”
However, Grant insisted Safri would only be allowed to leave Carrow Road on terms that suited the club.
"Maybe he thinks he can get away for nothing," he said. "I have dealt with about 15 agents, that is the problem.
"I have not had an offer, people keep telling me they are interested but I have not had an offer and if he thinks he is going to work his ticket to get out here for nothing, sorry.
"I was a very, very angry man yesterday. He comes up here and wants to be in the team photo - I said goodnight.
"This is a football club, not a charity shop. You talk about the passion of your supporters - as soon as your player doesn't show the same passion, out the door.
"But, we won't be stupid either. At the end of the day as long as he is a Norwich City employee we have to make sure we get the benefit to our club as well."
The Safri affair overshadowed this week's step-up in the pre-season programme, with City beaten by Grant's former club West Ham last night.
"In general I thought in the first half we were lucky to be only two down," he said. "Obviously it shows you the quality David Marshall has, that is why we fought so long to get him.
"It is difficult for the players because we never had the full group available to us and we knew we had to mix and match and put people in."