Canary legend Bryan Gunn today gave his verdict of life on the transfer front-line – and left the door wide open for a Premiership loan signing to be added to Peter Grant's '07-08 brew before this summer's window finally closes on August 31.
The club's liason officer continues to be Grant's man on the phone and along with chief executive Neil Doncaster will spend the rest of this week charting the progress of in-demand Scunthorpe striker Billy Sharp – now reported to be Wolves-bound for talks after reportedly listening to what both Sheffield clubs have had to say.
And then, of course, there is the equally lengthy chase of Celtic keeper David Marshall whose arrival in Norfolk is still expected – despite yesterday's unveiling of ex-Rochdale No1, Matt Gilks. Prising Marshall out of Parkhead after the Glasgow giants rejected City's initial ?500,000 bid earlier this summer may come down to sweet-talking Marshall's colourful agent Willie Mackay into resurrecting the stalled deal.
“Everyone seems to be scrapping around for similar-type players – and we're no different,” said Gunn, with the Canaries also reported to be battling Wolves for Freddy Eastwood, Hull for Jamie Cureton. Charlton are never far away, either.
“We've looked at some of the targets that we would be chasing over the summer months and while we're still chasing some of those, we know it's going to be difficult.
“But we've had opportunities to speak to some players, to speak to some agents and we're hopeful that with Jon Otsemobor and Matthew Gilks joining us on July 1, there'll be a couple more additions to that as well.”
Clearly most punters would prefer fresh faces to be walking through the door on June 1. In practice, however, it never happens – unless you adopt a Charlton-like approach of throwing huge wads of cash at a Luke Varney right from the start.
Otherwise people just wait to see which way the wind blows; wait to see how desperate the market becomes before that final August 31 deadline – at which point both prices and wages rack up another level.
“A lot of players do hold on to their situation – a lot of clubs hold onto the situation – until they've covered all angles themselves,” admitted Gunn. “So we are in the hands of other people at the moment, but there will come a time when we need to make a decision ourselves and follow up on possible other targets.
“But we're hopeful – we're coming into the first week of pre-season next week and I remember to when I was a player and players were turning up the week before the season started. So it mght be the case that we have to be patient for some of our targets.
“But we've been working hrad; burning the midnight oil. And we're hopeful that we can get some quality additions in.”
Which may yet be of the Premiership youngster and loan variety. That is one advantage of the transfer window not slamming shut until August 31 – that it gives the top flight boys the chance to see how their own squads settle down and who might just benefit from a season out at a Championship finishing school.
“You have got the potential of loan signings once the Premiership clubs have decided on the make-up of their squad – and that's something that we've not discarded either.
“We are trying to keep aware of as many opportunities as possible and we're hopeful, as I say, of adding to the squad.”
Gunn joined Doncaster as the master of ceremonies yesterday for the arrival of 25-year-old Gilks on a free transfer from Rochdale. With the better part of 500 City games in goal for the Canaries, the 43-year-old long-time Carrow Road favourite is better-placed than most to assess the qualities of Norwich's latest arrival.
“I think he's got all the qualities you would expect in a top quality goalkeeper,” said Gunn, citing Gilks' natural inclination to get on with it as one of his strengths.
“His handling is one that we look at; his distribution; his awareness – he likes to get on with the job quickly.
“If he comes out and catches a cross he wants to release the ball which is obviously something that we've looked at as well. It's something that would benefit the way that we want to play.
“And then there's his organisation of his defenders. It's one of the qualities that you need as a goalkeeper – and I think defenders like that as well. They like their goalkeeper to be bossy in that area. And Matthew has certainly got those top qualities.
“Plus he's a good size. He's six-one, six-two and he's definitely agile enough and he's one that does command his area – that's something that we've seen. And I'm sure the players will see those qualities at Colney as will the supporters, if he gets his opportunity, at Carrow Road.”
It was, said the club's liason officer, the right time for Gilks to fly his Rochdale nest.
“He's obviously been at Rochdale for all of his career and I think he felt that this was the right time for him to move. And when we were alerted to the situation that his contract would be finishing at the end of June, he was one that we had watched and had always had good reports on.
“And then in the final 24 games of the season, he had had 12 clean sheets so I think his qualities have certainly shone out in that period of time and we're glad that we've secured his signature because there were other clubs interested – both from Premiership level and the Championship.”
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