Who stays and who goes? It promises to be an interesting close season
Norwich City's relegation prompts one inevitable question: who stays and who goes?The drop to League One football will bring inevitable upheaval among the Carrow Road playing staff - and maybe elsewhere too.
Norwich City's relegation prompts one inevitable question: who stays and who goes?
The drop to League One football will bring inevitable upheaval among the Carrow Road playing staff - and maybe elsewhere too.
The management team of Bryan Gunn, assistant Ian Butterworth and coach Ian Crook were all taken on to the end of the season - with Crook giving up a career in Australia to help out his former team - but a decision now has to be taken on whether to retain the trio, modify it, or bring in new faces.
On the playing side, there are a number of players whose futures are likely to be elsewhere - the process of elimination beginning yesterday when Gunn met his contracted players one by one.
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City rejected approaches from Fulham for midfielder Sammy Clingan during the January transfer window, but would find it difficult to deny the Northern Ireland international his Premier League dream. And the Cottagers won't be alone, with Scottish clubs no doubt aware of the 25-year-old's interest in the SPL.
Lee Croft's contract is up this summer and he has yet to sign a new deal: the assumption is he has been waiting to see where City end up.
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But there are plenty of teams, in the Premier League and Championship, interested in picking up the former Manchester City winger for nothing.
Goalkeeper David Marshall has always put club before country, but his elevation to Scotland's number two may change his views - and playing in League One won't help international ambitions.
Mark Fotheringham was out of contract, out of favour and was a premature departure last week, while Simon Lappin was brought in from the cold by Gunn - but did he do enough to earn himself a new deal? Matty Pattison might be wondering where his future is after dropping out of the reckoning. Carl Cort missed the end of the season with injury and City are unlikely to risk asking him to stay on.
Recent promotions to the match-day 16 for Academy products Korey Smith, Luke Daley and Tom Adeyemi indicate a change of direction brought on by a lack of money in the coffers. Gunn has already said that the investment made at youth level needs to be realised in the first team, so expect to see more homegrown talent and fewer imports - he's already made it clear that Declan Rudd will be his number two keeper next season.
Robert Eagle is another who has left early, although there may be season-long loans ahead for some of the emerging talent.
It appears to have done little harm to Michael Spillane and Chris Martin, who spent the season at Luton. Spillane has signed a new two-year deal and returns with the under-contract Martin. Both are said to be not just better players but more mature for the experience.
Cody McDonald was an inexpensive January transfer window purchase from non-league Dartford but his cameo roles will be exchanged for top billing - and the signs are that he could prove to be a real bargain.
But it leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
Can City afford to keep players like Dejan Stefanovic, Jamie Cureton, Gary Doherty, Wes Hoolahan, Adam Drury, Darel Russell, Pattison and Jon Otsemobor? And if not, what happens to them? There will be takers for some, and while not many will command significant fees, getting them off the payroll may be the priority.
The loan players all go home, and while Gunn's temporary signings have generally been pretty successful, finances will dictate how many he would be able to ask back. There have been reports of Crystal Palace being interested in a swap deal that would see Alan Lee stay, and Hoolahan head to south London.But would Gunn be able to afford Ryan Bertrand, Alan Gow or David Mooney?
It could be a very busy summer - for whoever is in charge.