Warnock finally forced to throw in the towel as money and Premier League football talk in the chase for skipper SnodgrassWed 25 Jul 12 by Rick Waghorn
Norwich City’s patient pursuit of Leeds United skipper Robert Snodgrass looks all set to finally yield fruit this week after Whites boss Neil Warnock accepted defeat – paving the way for the 24-year-old’s £3 million exit.
According to today’s Yorkshire Evening Post, it was City’s willingness to offer £1.5 million up front that helped finally grease the wheels of the deal as Leeds United accepted Norwich’s bid for their star turn – finalising a switch that had long been in the wind; even before Chris Hughton’s arrival at the helm.
To add to a busy, 24-hours the Sunderland Echo confirmed that centre-half Michael Turner was in Norfolk for a medical with a view to joining Hughton’s defensive ranks.
Like Snodgrass, the 28-year-old was entering the final year of his contract at The Stadium Of Light and the three-time Hull City Player of the Season will add additional steel to Norwich’s defensive resources.
Should Snodgrass agree personal terms with the Norfolk club in the next 48 hours, he will be the third Whites star to make the switch to East Anglia in the last 12 months with Bradley Johnson and Jonny Howson both upping sticks for a new, footballing life in Norfolk.
Both have settled well into their new surroundings; both, one suspects, will have ‘sold’ the club and the lifestyle to their former Elland Road team-mate.
Now, having quit the club’s pre-season tour to Cornwall, it appears only a matter of hours before Snodgrass finally completes his much-mooted move to Norwich and continues the club’s recent pursuit of hungry, ambitious players of a certain age.
“I can honestly say that in all my time in football I’ve never worked so hard to keep a player,” said Warnock today, who has already seen a new and improved contract offer turned down. Making Snodgrass the club’s captain also proved in vain.
The player wanted away.
And with just one year left to run on his existing Elland Road contract, the Yorkshire club faced the very real prospect of Snodgrass walking away on a free next summer if they failed to act this summer.
“He’s made it clear what he wants to do and he’s had his head turned,” claimed Warnock, who at least has done one piece of business going the other way – snapping up veteran Canary defender Adam Drury on a two-year deal.
Keeping Snodgrass out of the Premier League, however, proved too much of an ask as Hughton adds to his array of attacking talent.
“He wants to play in the Premier League,” added Warnock.
“He believes his Scotland international career will be better served in the Premier League but I’m not so sure. I’m very disappointed but life moves on.”
In 168 league appearances for Leeds, the Glasgow-born winger has scored 35 goals; with innumerable assists in-between. He will certainly give the likes of Elliott Bennett and Anthony Pilkington a run for their money. Throw in the likes of Wes Hoolahan, Jacob Butterfield and, of course, Howson and the Canaries will not be short of entertainers come the start of the new season.
In the meantime, City boss Hughton was to be found reflecting on a good, 1-0 away win at Celtic last night with skipper Grant Holt deciding matters a minute from the end.
Steven Whittaker was the night’s only casualty; hobbling off after 26 minutes of a keenly contested affair – one in which the fired-up James Vaughan certainly made his presence felt.
Given that the Bhoys are little more than a week away from the start of their Champions League qualifying campaign, Hughton has every reason to be pleased with his foray north of the border.
“You always want to win football matches, but at this stage of the season its not the be all and end all,” he told the club’s official site.
“It’s about making sure that you come through it and making sure that you’re getting some good work in for the next game.”
Which, in Norwich’s case, is an all-too traditional clash with Barry Fry’s Peterborough on Saturday.
Whether or not the Canaries will have a fresh face in their midst by then remains to be seen. But they’re close.