With Fabio Quagliarella doing a ‘Toby Alderweireld’, Chris Hughton’s summer long search for a striker continues.
Add the underwhelmed figure of Ola Toivonen to the list of those from the continent who have resisted City’s overtures and a pattern starts to emerge; one where the lack of gravitas attached to the name Norwich City looks to be having an impact.
There is little City can do about that of course. We know we’re ‘massive’ and you can bet your bottom euro that David McNally is making that abundantly clear in his pitch, but when your agent mentions Norwich City in the same breath as Liverpool and Tottenham as he reels off the teams ‘interested’ one can imagine the response.
At least that’s how it feels.
Alderweireld made this point during City’s attempt to lure him across the North Sea when he told Belgium paper Het Laatste Nieuws: ‘I do not want to play in an English club to mid-table.’ While a little may have been lost in translation it’s fairly clear that the Belgian international has set his sights a little higher than 11th in the Premier League.
Wisely, since announcing his desire to bide his time, his father and agent have both stepped in to ensure Alderweireld’s Carrow Bridge is not completely burnt. First up was the player’s agent, Soren Lerby, who informed Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad: ‘The problem was not that Norwich didn’t fit Toby’s ambitions, but we simply failed to agree terms.’
If that wasn’t enough to smooth the troubled waters his father then waded in to clarify that his son has not totally rejected the idea of moving to Norwich City this summer, but is keeping his options open pending a decision later on in the transfer window.
While another year at Ajax is also still reportedly a possibility for Alderweireld, the smart money looks to be on a move to the Premier League, with Liverpool still in the frame. Interestingly, if a move to Merseyside, or anywhere else ‘attractive’, fails to materialise the Belgian may yet be thankful to his people for keeping the Norwich option open for him.
However unlikely it may appear, there’s no doubting he would have added some quality to Hughton’s defensive options, but probably best not to hold our breath.
Similarly, City’s ‘audacious’ bid for Quagliarella now appears to have ended unsuccessfully, with the Italians caring rather less to spare the Norwich feelings. In a rather brusque piece in the Daily Star they claim the bid to have been ‘dismissed out of hand, with The Bianconeris now holding out for a bigger paying deal for the 30-year-old.’
Judging by their tone I’m not expecting the Italian’s agent and family to come out and declare the Norwich option still to be a viable one, with Tuesday’s private jet from Turin to Norwich now looking highly unlikely to have contained a swarthy looking Italian goalscorer. Similarly the rumoured medical that was reported to have been underway last night, which now looks equally unlikely given he played forty-five minutes for Juventus in a friendly at the time he was supposedly being given the once over.
All of which brings us to our friend Mr Hooper.
While I have no intention of going over the whole drawn out episode yet again, it looks increasingly likely that David McNally is going to come second in his game of hardball with his Celtic counterpart. With QPR awash with the Fernandes millions it was always going to be a tricky one for McNally to win – a triumph the of willy-nilly splashing of cash over shrewd financial management.
For Celtic’s part, they have accepted that Hooper’s desire to return south will prevail and so, understandably, are trying to squeeze every last pound from the deal. For City’s part, they’ve placed a value on Hooper they consider fair and reasonable and refuse to be held to ransom. And quite right too.
For what it’s worth I think a line should be drawn under this one… and we move on. Sagas of this kind should be reserved for those with proven credentials. Not for those with impressive scoring record in the Championship and the SPL but who’ve yet to kick a ball at Premier League level.
For those who are currently being ingratiated in the Canary family – namely Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Nathan Redmond, Leroy Fer, Martin Olsson and Carlo Nash – their first taste of football in the canary yellow is imminent, with Club Dorados de Sinaloa providing the opposition overnight in Sacramento.
Colin Calderwood, currently deputising for an otherwise occupied Hughton, has suggested a different City side will take the field for each half, with maximising fitness levels currently the name of the game.
So preparations continue apace on both sides of the Atlantic; McNally and the Wolf both hoping to score in the next few days.
On the Ball City