With Sky Sports News ‘understanding’ that City have rejected an improved Chelsea bid for John Ruddy the summer turnaround of playing personnel threatens to be more sweeping than any of us had imagined.
Predictably, now the majority of players are back on duty the transfer rumours have ramped up several notches – Sky Sports News gleefully regurgitating even the slightest titbit of information – with City ‘enjoying’ more attention than is usually afforded them.
Of course, this mainly occurs courtesy of a link with the ‘big boys’ and sure enough, Chelsea’s desire to tuck John Ruddy up their sleeve in case something happens to Petr Cech is now in danger of becoming a SSN soap opera.
Interestingly, they’re content to ignore anything as official as a comment from CEO David McNally but are more than happy to run with a leak or two from the Kings Road PR machine.
Despite City’s CEO tweeting last week: “Can confirm though that I haven’t been in talks with clubs about any one leaving #ncfc” Sky have persisted with this story and are now reporting, via their famed sources, that a second bid has been made and duly rejected.
This also casts considerable doubt over their suggestion that the two clubs were in ‘advanced talks’; hardly likely as City, for now at least, appear to be playing hardball – just how McNally likes it.
All of which leaves a slightly sour taste, although I’m not about to suggest that Chelsea are using Murdoch’s men for mischievous purposes. I’m sure they have far more class than that.
While it’s clear there appears to be substance behind the Blues desire to land Ruddy what isn’t clear is where exactly he fits into their plans. As has been the subject of much discussion, it won’t be to replace Cech… that much we do know.
Another unknown in this particular equation are the thoughts and wishes of Ruddy himself. While it’s obvious he wishes to be aboard Roy Hodgson’s plane to Brazil – assuming England qualify – what is less clear is how this can be best achieved. A full-season of sweeping up behind Bassong and Turner in the full glare of MoTD, Sky, BT and NBC cameras or the odd cup cameo when Jose Mourinho perceives it ‘safe’ to release him from the confines of the bench.
Not an easy one for Ruddy – if indeed he’s ever given the choice – but, given the obvious England penchant for those who play for the top five, it’s sadly a far less straightforward choice than it may first appear. Of course, if his motivation is financial, there’s only one winner.
With Carlo Nash confirming – via Twitter – his next port of call to be the fine city, some are already assuming this to be confirmation of Hughton’s acceptance of the sale of Ruddy, but with Steer now reunited with Lambert a third choice keeper was already on the shopping list. If Ruddy does depart – and some are suggesting he’s not part of the travelling party to Austria – I suspect he’ll be replaced on a like-for-like basis; Fraser Forster never far from the thoughts of the Yellow Army when the subject is broached.
In terms of those heading inward to Colney, rumours emanating from the Netherlands suggest the signing of Leroy Fer to be a real possibility. While Everton still remain interested in the FC Twente midfielder, reports from Holland continue to point to Norwich as his likely destination. Clearly there is still work to be done on this one, but a quick glance at YouTube shows Fer – a box to box midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira – to be someone who would certainly add quality to the existing midfield options.
On another positive note – and also courtesy of Sky Sports – Belgian defender Toby Alderweild, currently plying his trade in the Eredivisie with Ajax, is another City are alleged to have enquired about. Equally at home at centre-defence or right-back, Alderweild has been on the radar of Bayer Leverkusen, Liverpool and Tottenham, but it appears the Norwich connection is currently the one in the frame. The report, tellingly, gives no indication as to the Belgian’s interest in the move.
As I write, the white smoke is still to rise in Wigan in relation to Grant Holt’s medical, but the smart money is on it being successful and terms being agreed; an announcement or press conference likely in the next 24 hours.
All of the above suggests that Hughton’s squad is going to be subject to considerably more than the odd tweak before the season begins. While loathe to use the term ‘major surgery’, for every Carrow Road departure there will need to be a replacement. Add into the mix those already on McNally’s hit-list and we have an intriguing few weeks ahead.
Watch this space.