New City signing Steve Morison has lifted the lid on the games people play to get a move – fresh from completing a reported £2.8 million move to Paul Lambert’s Premiership new-boys complete with a three-year City deal.
Stress on the ‘reported’ £2.8 million.
As ever, there will be two sides to every story. Three in the case of a footballer’s switch to a new club – one club selling, one club buying and one player moving.
All of whom will have their own ‘positions’ to maintain; on who made the first move, who paid what for how long. In the smokes and mirrors world of professional football, ‘positioning’ is key.
Norwich’s position is the most straight-forward. In the space of little more than a week they have bolted two fresh faces in their strike department – the 27-year-old Morison following swiftly on from the signature of 22-year-old former Everton starlet James Vaughan.
Whether the figure is, indeed, £2.8 million now; or £2.8 million if the one-time London paper shredder plays 50 times for his country is almost an irrelevance to the Norwich faithful.
The lad is in; through the door; signed, sealed and delivered.
And given the theory is that the Canaries have some £40 million to throw at new players – albeit in both transfer fees and salaries – so Lambert still appears to be living well within his new means.
The ‘positioning’ is rather more tricky in South London where the Lions very publically turned down at least three earlier bids from the Canaries – as well, more pertinently, a transfer request handed in by the player himself.
Given that Morison signed a new Millwall deal as recently as last February, it is not too hard to fathom as to who – in the eyes of the Lions’ faithful – is the villain of the piece.
This weekend and the City new-boy was busily trying to re-position himself in that debate; insisting in The Sun that it was Lions boss Kenny Jackett who got the move in motion by suggesting that the player throw a transfer request into the pot.
Pot duly stirred; move duly followed. Them are the usual rules of the game.
“I told the manager Kenny Jackett I would like the opportunity to go and play in the Premier League,” Morison told the paper.
“He said if Norwich came up with the money, I could go. “I said ‘Well I am letting you know if they do, I want to leave’.
“And he said to me ‘Well then, you need to put that in writing..’. It wasn’t me throwing a strop. I never once said I would hand in a transfer request. The club asked me to hand in a transfer request to let everyone know I wanted to leave.
“I said I didn’t want to do that — not because of any financial reasons but because I knew I’d get painted the bad guy. But I was told I needed to hand in a transfer request to get the process going. It wasn’t my choice.”
Morison was reported to have travelled up to Norfolk on Friday to complete his personal terms and medical.
He appears a Lambert player to a ‘T’; with the hunger, the drive and the ambition that invariably comes with having seen the realities of life outside the world of professional football.
In that he is no different to Canary skipper Grant Holt, who now has some serious competition on his hands. As does the likes of Simeon Jackson and Chrissy Martin for that second striker’s role.
“For us in that league we’re going to need to be as strong as we can be in every department,” Lambert told the official club site this weekend, his sights now likely to turn to the middle and back end of his newly-promoted team.
“Steve is a natural goalscorer who will significantly add to what is already a very competitive striking department,” he added. “That is what we will need in the Premier League.”
Whatever the precise rights and wrongs of Morison’s switch from the Lions – in particular the bitter taste it will leave in the mouths of the Millwall faithful – it merely proved once more that football is just a business.
A meat market, in all-too many regards.
And, as Morison rightly pointed out, had he not signed that new deal in February, he could have walked for nothing next summer.
This way and the South London club are firmly in the money.
Even if, for now, his name is mud.
“The last few days have been a bit of a circus but at the end of the day, had I not put in that request or signed that deal, Millwall would be sitting here with a player with just 12 months left on his contract and worth nothing,” he said.