City's latest reported strike target Martin Paterson could arrive in Norfolk with a ringing endorsement from a very familiar face – ex-Canary chief Nigel Worthington.
With various newspapers this morning insisting that the 21-year-old Scunthorpe striker could be bound for Carrow Road in a ?850,000 deal, Worthington could prove to be an early judge of the young man's talents – having granted the Irons hitman his first international call-up last autumn in his role as Northern Ireland boss.
He had, it seems, been scribbling Paterson's name in his note-book as much as Roeder. And when the call came, Worthington insisted that the player was there on merit – not just because he had lost Kyle Lafferty to suspension.
“I've been to see Martin play, sent scouts to watch him and I think he deserves his chances to come into the squad,” said Worthington at the time.
“He's been scoring goals regularly for Scunthorpe and will bring a real bundle of energy. He's a threat down the channels and I think it's nice that he has been included in the squad.”
In fairness, Northern Ireland have never been overly blessed with strike talent, but with 11 goals to his name in the Championship already this season, Paterson was backed by Worthington to “do the business” if opportunity ever knocked. He must have done something to impress – the ex-City chief called him up again for next month's friendly clash with Bulgaria.
“He is not coming in to make up the numbers. If called upon, we are sure he can do the business,” said Worthington.
Paterson was originally a trainee at Stoke City before opting not to agree a new contract at the Britannia last summer. Aged just 20 at the time, it all ensured a trip to a Football League tribunal in Manchester last month where a fee was finally set at ?305,000 – it could rise again depending on appearances and promotion. The Potters are also due 20% by way of a sell-on.
Having nurtured the five-foot ten-inch Tunstall-born youngster since he was nine-years-old, Stoke's director of football John Rudge emerged feeling less than satisfied with the verdict – they had originally demanded ?750,000 as opposed to the Iron's offer of ?100,000.
“We are very disappointed with the verdict, as we feel it falls well short of our valuation of him,” said Rudge, likely to feel even more hard done by this morning should the deal go through two months later at above the Potters first valuation.
“We had Martin at the club from when he was nine-years-old and played a significant role in helping him become the player he is today. This season he is one of the top scorers in the Championship, so to receive this verdict is very disappointing.”
If memory serves, Paterson caught Roeder's eye in no uncertain terms in the home clash with Scunthorpe where the City boss noted with approval the player's never-say-die attitude – he had, as Worthington noted, run the channels all game-long. And as everyone always loves a trier, so Roeder too liked the look of the Iron star.
The fact that he has a sharp little eye for goal also helped.
City's chase for Paterson will, however, come with warning bells attached – as the Canaries discovered with their long and eventually fruitless quest to bring Billy Sharp to Carrow Road last summer, the Iron chairman has a way of doing his business. Invariably through the media.
Today's little piece of news could again simply be a ploy to see just who is out there and ready to make a bid as the midnight hour fast approaches. He may yet be leading everyone on yet another merry dance with Sharp spending most of his summer on a tour of the Championship with day trips to Sheffield Wednesday, Wolves and Norwich before finally settling on a switch back to his first love, Sheffield United.
True to form, one early report had Scunthorpe dismissing City's initial bid. The games could be about to commence.
There is, however, a feeling that with Scunthorpe looking one of the better bets for a return to League One come May, that the Glanford Park board may be keen to cash in one or two of their chips now while the transfer market is over-heating. And with Patterson having only signed a two-year contract in the summer, the Iron will not wish to risk being stung by a transfer fee tribunal should he walk again in another summer's time.
With the Canaries concentrating their energies on tonight's Championship fixture against Southampton, the odds are that most of the action will follow tomorrow and Thursday.
Roeder revealed yesterday that he also had “first refusal” on a young Gunner. Once again, that is proving far from straight forward given that the Gunners are involved in a massive, FA Youth Cup fourth round clash with Liverpool at Anfield tonight.
Liverpool, the holders, are probably the last realistic challengers to the North London side after Manchester United – who beat the Gunners with the last kick of the game at the semi-final stage of the competition last year – were knocked out by Carlisle United in the shock of the tournament. Little wonder that Gunners youth team coach Steve Bould has his heart set on going all the way to the final this year. And all with his strongest possible squad in tow.
Given that the City chief confirmed that it would, indeed, be one of Arsene Wenger's younger, fringe players that may yet be Norfolk-bound come Thursday, you would strongly suspect that the player concerned will be involved tonight with Kieran Gibbs and Mark Randall two that would fit the bill after Roeder revealed that he would be looking to bring in someone of Jimmy Smith's ilk following his return to Chelsea.
The fact that he has already brought in two left-backs in on loan in the shape of first Mo Camara and then Ryan Bertrand ought to nail one suggestion that Armand Traore was his No1 'draft pick' from the Emirates.
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