For many the departure of Anthony Pilkington to Cardiff City is further proof that Norwich is a club in decline. The tip of an iceberg that’s bound to culminate in a fire sale of the club’s assets of value.
Except it isn’t. Nothing of the sort.
MyFootballWriter understands that Pilkington has been angling for a move out of the Fine City for over a season and had made crystal clear his desire to depart some time ago.
If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hadn’t offered him that opportunity someone else would have. His leaving was a question of when, not if. It’s what the player wanted.
As is normal for a relegated side – or any side for that matter – over the summer Neil Adams sat down with his players, individually, to find out who was up for the challenge of a Championship promotion push. From those meetings he emerged with lists of those he wanted to retain, those he wanted to move on and those for whom he would consider offers.
Pilkington was firmly in the ‘wanting to move on’ camp and, as a result, did not form part of Adam’s long-term plan. It would have made no sense to do so and, although, as a professional Pilks would undoubtedly have given his all, his heart would have been elsewhere.
No-one wins in that situation and with only twelve months left on his contact his re-sale value would have dwindled with every passing game.
And on the subject of playing games, concerns remained over the player’s ability to do so regularly and for a sustained period of time. Such has been his physical fragility over the last season, when he was due to play his pre-game training was tailored accordingly.
In his prime of course Pilkington was that rare breed of a two-footed winger with pace who chipped in with his fair share of goals. And in his pomp he could give the best Premier League full-backs serious problems.
Alas, since that glorious glancing header, which had Anders Lindegaard clutching at thin air, we’ve seen very little of that tormentor of top-six full-backs. He disappeared, usually to Colney’s physio room, with a succession of niggling injuries doing little to propel his career in the direction we all desired.
Instead we had a winger with massive potential but who showed it all too rarely. To have played less than 60 league games in three seasons tells a story of its own. In the last year the number of different hair-styles have been on a par with the number of games.
And while his recent, and final, spat with Neil Adams has been officially declared non-contributory to the move away, MyFootballWriter understands he did not train on Friday, even though his ensuing Twitter missive suggested otherwise.
Of course there are those who perceive the act of selling him to ‘a rival’ as folly, but when a player wants away and a club meets the asking price – for the record it’s closer to £2million than the £1.25 that has been reported – then a decision has to be made. And we all know the impact on the dressing room of unhappy players.
And there are other players who will likely depart before the deadline; some because they want to depart, others because they have a price.
Leroy Fer likely falls in the latter category, the price in question being of eight figures, although QPR’s interest appears to have waned a little when presented with the asking price. Luciano Becchio and Seb Bassong without question fall in the former. Both want away and will be helped on their way as soon as a suitable offer comes in.
Another who has been the subject of offers is Nathan Redmond – Mark Hughes being the most recent to show his hand – but the club wants to keep him. Adams understandably sees him as an integral part of his plans and will do everything possible to keep him. If he were to depart – and that’s a big *if* – it would be for very top dollar.
And every pound received by the club will head straight to the Adams transfer pot; the £2million from Cardiff already burning a hole on the manager’s pocket.
For some it may appear we’re teetering on the brink but, in reality, we’re in the same state of flux of any club that has headed southwards out of the Premier League. It’s a well-trodden path and City are no different. Decisions have been made, a plan is being adhered to and everything should become much clearer come September 2.
Only at that point Adams will know precisely the hand he has to play.