City boss Glenn Roeder last night knocked one transfer tale firmly into the long grass by denying he was in the hunt for Aberdeen's out-of-contract winger Barry Nicholson.
The 29-year-old Dons Player of the Year has long been linked to a switch to Preston North End this summer, though of late his agent – David Moyes' brother, Kenny – has thrown Norwich's name into the hat.
City's newly-installed 'head of player recruitment' Bryan Gunn, speaking to the Aberdeen Evening Express this week, confirmed that Nicholson had been one name on a lengthy list of players that the Norfolk club had been keeping an eye on.
It would, however, now appear that the name 'B Nicholson' did not make Roeder's own short-list with the City boss equally at pains to stress that he had yet to miss out on any one of his transfer targets – scotching earlier suggestions that Norwich might have been in the market to lure Robert Earnshaw back to Carrow Road or, indeed, that out-of-contract Plymouth right-back Paul Connolly spurned City's advances ahead of his switch last month to newly-relegated Derby County.
As for those hoping to see some swift action on the summer transfer front, Roeder was sticking to his line from earlier this summer – that everyone will have to wait to open their Christmas presents; that 'Christmas Day' transfer-wise could still be some “three to four weeks” distant.
The fact that Moyes, the agent, had suggested that the Canaries hurry up in their pursuit of Nicholson didn't help; the Canary boss has long since proved that he marches to no-one's tune but his own – the way would now appear to be open for Nicholson to complete his switch to Deepdale and put this particular summer transfer tale to bed.
“I've been having a few discussions with Bryan Gunn. He's had a couple of good reports about Barry,” Moyes was quoted as saying in the Evening News.
“Bryan's been very professional about the way he's gone about things. He's interested, he knows the player and I think the assistant manager has seen him.
“But I don't think Glenn has had the chance to see him for himself and it depends on what he wants to do. I don't know if there is enough time before Barry makes a decision. Time is short and there may be too much pressure on to get that commitment.”
Roeder has, at least, made one decision for Nicholson. And it's no…
“I have no intention of signing Nicholson and, to be honest, I'm unhappy with agents who talk up their players supposedly going to clubs regardless of whether or not any bid has actually been made,” Roeder told the club's official website last night.
The City boss also took the opportunity to set the record straight as to players who had – apparently – already slipped through Norwich's grasp this summer with Earnshaw being the prime example.
“Contrary to several reports in the last few weeks I have not missed out on players I have been interested in,” said Roeder. “There has not been one player I'm seriously interested in signing who I have missed out on so far.”
In fairness, two of the more credible names – Luton's David Bell and Blackpool's Wes Hoolahan – have yet to move anywhere this summer. The former is certainly on the move somewhere with the consortium looking to take over the cash-strapped Hatters having long ear-marked Bell's wage packet as the first to go.
Likewise the fact that Hoolahan's ?250,000 get-out clause now appears to be common currency in Championship boardrooms up and down the land would suggest that his agent is hard at work getting a move for his man.
Either way, Roeder wasn't expecting a bus load of fresh faces to be pulling up outside the gates of Colney this week; patience will need to be a virtue for a few more weeks yet as the City boss and his recruitment team continue to work the phones and squeeze their contacts.
“I am very, very busy at the moment working on several possibilities,” Roeder told the club site. “And I am confident that players will be starting to arrive at Carrow Road within the next three to four weeks.
“For obvious reasons, I can't say who they are at the moment because I don't want to alert anyone else as to who our targets might be.”
The fact that many players remain under contract with their clubs until the end of June can also work against early moves; ditto, the fact that this is prime footballer holiday time.
And given that Roeder has already set out his stall in terms of looking to secure up to four or five Premiership loans for at least the first half of next season – players that, in every likelihood, will not be released by their 'mother' clubs until well into August – it could yet prove a long wait for the City faithful this summer as they look to discover just what the Canary boss has left them underneath the Christmas tree.
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