We’re not a selling club – City chief

Norwich City chief executive Neil Doncaster has rejected suggestions the Canaries are now a selling club upon the news that Dickson Etuhu is set to join Sunderland.

Norwich City chief executive Neil Doncaster has rejected suggestions the Canaries are now a selling club upon the news that Dickson Etuhu is set to join Sunderland.

The Nigerian-born midfielder has agreed personal terms with the Black Cats in a £1.5m deal with the player set to undergo a medical on Wearside today after rejecting a new contract to stay at Carrow Road.

But Doncaster insists that, despite Norwich selling two of their shining lights over the summer in Robert Earnshaw and Etuhu, City have not become a feeder club to Premiership sides.

“The facts don't bare that out,” said Doncaster. “In the past we have had to sell the likes of Darren Eadie, Craig Bellamy and Chris Sutton just so the club can stay afloat.

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“We are no longer in that situation. You have seen over the summer that we have brought in the likes of David Strihavka, Jamie Cureton, Julien Brellier, Jon Otsemobor, David Marshall and Matthew Gilks that we are bringing good players into the club. All of us here at the club still have the ambition to be a Premiership side.”

Doncaster added that any money made through the Etuhu deal will be ploughed straight back into manager Peter Grant's transfer coffers.

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“He will get the money,” added Doncaster. “Any money made from the sale will be made available to the manager.”

Norwich are reluctant to sell Etuhu but have been hamstrung once again by a buy-out clause that says the midfielder can talk to any club that bids £1.5m.

It was Darren Huckerby who let the cat out of the bag yesterday that Etuhu was heading for the Carrow Road exit door with the winger launching an angry outburst at the club.

Huckerby said the squad is “gutted” to be losing Etuhu and, with Youssef Safri believed to be heading for West Brom, the 31-year-old questioned the ambition of the Norwich hierarchy.

“We can't keep losing very good players,” he said. “Obviously it looks like Dickson is going somewhere else. Saf maybe, we've already lost Earnie. For a team that struggled last season to lose three of its best players - you can only go on like that for so long.

“It's frustrating because they're very good players. On his day, Dickson is the most complete midfielder in this league. Maybe he's had a bit of inconsistency but when he plays well he's virtually unstoppable.

“To lose a player of that quality for £1.5m, we're not going to be able that kind of money and get the same player in. I'm very disappointed and there's going to come a time where I'm not going to be too happy about us keep losing players.”

Huckerby, who signed a one-year contract extension last season that will take him to the summer of 2008, hinted that if Norwich continue to sell their best players then he may consider his future.

“I want to play in a team that wins games and to do that you need your best players. At the minute we've lost three of our best players. There's going to come a time where I'm not going to be happy about losing our best players every season.

“It's your Dean Ashtons, your Leon McKenzies, your Earnies. Very good players. Greeny was a bit different as he was here for 10 years so he put his stint in.

“A lot of these players haven't been here for that long. Ash was here for a year, Earnie was here for a year - it just seems we're fighting an uphill battle all the time.”

Huckerby added that he feels a great deal of sympathy for his manager after losing Etuhu.

“The gaffer is trying his best to get players in but he must be tearing his hair out. You lose two of your best players for under what they are worth really. We can't replace them for that kind of money.

“The lads have come in and we've signed a few players then you come in this morning you hear that Dickson has gone or going. The lads are gutted because we know that Dickson is a good player - he's going to be near enough impossible. It's starting to get on my nerves a bit to be honest - but that's life.”

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