City boss Glenn Roeder this afternoon insisted that his transfer plans were “where he thought they would be” – and that patience would be the No1 virtue required this summer.
In a wide-ranging catch-up with the Press at Colney today, the Canary manager carefully side-stepped naming any names after weeks of idle speculation – the only and only positive confirmation came in the fact that Norwich had, indeed, had a nibble at Derry City winger Patrick McCourt before Celtic brought their guns to bear on the 24-year-old.
Other than that, Roeder studiously ruled nothing in nor out – and that included the long-running saga of Shola Ameobi's whereabouts next season.
West Bromwich Albion were today's favourites for the 26-year-old's signature. Even Roeder's body language gave little away. No hint of whether Norwich were in or were out of the race for his services next season.
“Has it been a frustrating summer? Not at all,” said Roeder, with just one full-time signing to his name thus far – Northern Ireland international midfielder Sammy Clingan who arrived from Nottingham Forest on a free transfer this week.
And a new kit man. The search for a new physio and fitness expert remained on-going following the behind-the-scenes shake-up at Colney this summer.
“It's basically where I thought it would be,” added the Canary boss. “And I'm not perturbed at all that we've only announced one signing. So far.
“Trust me – the supporters have got to feel confident that there will be plenty more coming in. Lots of people are on holiday at the moment – and probably not in as much a rush as we are to sign more players. We just need to be a little bit more patient.
“I always think that's a good quality to have in life anyway – patience. But we're fine.”
Indeed, said Roeder, that was the explicit purpose of calling today's Press gathering – to stress to the supporters that all was well in the kingdom of Colney. Events were in hand; on track. And besides, with the start of pre-season training now no more than ten days away, he would expect the pace of transfer dealings to step again over the course of the next week.
The traditional Shola question brought a classic, sit-on-the-fence response.
“This is the time for speculation – and it will be right through until the window closes at the end of August,” said Roeder, with the link to Ameobi having followed in his shadow since virtually the first moment he walked through the door.
“And then the speculation will start again at the start of January. And I understand the impatience of everybody – our supporters, especially. And specifically asked for me to have a chat with you today to make sure that the fans hear that as far as I'm concerned, we're on course. We're fine. And we'll get the players that we want.
“And there isn't any player so far that's signed for another club where I've felt that I've lost out. So the ones that have signed for new clubs already, they haven't been any of my targets.”
Which, on that flimsy basis, still rules the likes of Ameobi, Wes Hoolahan, Andrew Cole, David Bell and Martin Paterson in. None have as yet moved; the only slight exception to that rule is McCourt.
“We showed a little bit of interest,” he admitted, as the first fruits of Norwich's new-look scouting network almost bore fruit. Until the lure of Celtic “swept him off his feet”.
“It was late in the day and I couldn't really say any more than that. We were told about him going to West Brom, but for a lot of Irish lads a lot of them either support Celtic or Rangers. And I assume that when Celtic, who are a giant of Scottish football, have come forward it would have made it not only nearly impossible for us, but anyone else in the Championship,” explained Roeder, with the 'tip' coming from City's new man across the water – ex-Reading centre-half Barry Hunter.
“We've completely re-jigged our recruitment set-up here headed by Bryan Gunn and one of the three major new scouts that will be working for us is Barry Hunter who used to play for Northern Ireland and he'll be a major player for us this year sourcing new talent.
“He told me about him and we had a look at it. And it might well have happened. But the fact that Celtic came in, late and fast, swept him off his feet. I understand that – and I wish Pat all the best.”
As for Gary Doherty's future, that likewise was very much up in the air with Roeder yet to hear back from the out-of-contract defender. The clock is certainly ticking on that one as the start of pre-season hoves into view.
“Anyone seen him?” asked the City chief. “He's somewhere on this planet, but where I couldn't tell you at the minute.
“Obviously we want him to sign; we've made him a good offer; he's gone away to think about it. And sometimes things take a little bit longer to sink in for some people than it does for others.
“But, again, there's no panic. Everyone else seems to be running around like headless chickens. Let's just stay nice and calm. The contract is there for him to sign; if he wants to sign it, fantastic. If he doesn't, that's life.
“If he can find somewhere better than Norwich City then good luck to him. I don't think he will…”