'Average' training ground saw City miss out on former West Ham striker

Christoph Zimmermann of Norwich and Max Aarons of Norwich look dejected as Sebastien Haller of West

Sebastien Haller turned down a move to Norwich City after being left unimpressed by the set-up at Colney.

Norwich City's 'average' training ground prevented them from signing former West Ham striker Sebastien Haller when he was a player at FC Utrecht. 

Alex Neil was keen to bring the French striker to Carrow Road back in January 2016 and former chief scout Joe Savage has revealed that the major sticking point was the poor quality of their facilities. 

Since Stuart Webber arrived at the club in 2017, improving the training ground has been of paramount importance. CIty have since constructed a new building at their Colney base and they will soon become the first English club to install a SoccerBot350 when work gets completed prior to pre-season. 

When Neil was in charge, the gym at Colney was based in a conservatory and the training centre contained numerous portable buildings. 

Haller signed for West Ham back in 2019 for a staggering £45million, but failed to make his mark at the London Stadium before leaving to join Dutch giants Ajax. He has scored 11 goals in 19 games for the club.

The powerful striker was responsible for a late tackle on Christoph Zimmermann that Daniel Farke seething when the sides met in 2019. 

Savage helped identify the striker as City were seeking reinforcements at the top end of the pitch after Lewis Grabban completed an £8m move to Bournemouth and Neil was left with Dieumerci Mbokani, Cameron Jerome and Kyle Lafferty as their forward options. 

Christoph Zimmermann of Norwich is tackled by Sebastien Haller of West Ham United and injured and ev

Haller left Farke seething after a poor challenge on Christoph Zimmermann when the sides met in 2019. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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They eventually signed Steven Naismith in that window and Savage explains why they knew Haller would turn them down when he caught a glimpse of their gym. 

"The training ground at Norwich wasn't what we expected," City's former chief scout Savage told the From the Finney podcast. 

"Let me tell you a story about Norwich. We had Sebastien Haller, the one that went to West Ham, in the building and we had been granted permission for him to come to the training ground. It was from Utrecht at the time. 

"He walked into the gym, which was a conservatory, looked around and you could tell then that he wasn't signing. Three hours later, he rang up and said 'I'm not coming. It's not that big a move. It's not bigger than Utrecht. Your training ground is average."

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