With all the natural – and rightful – hullabaloo that accompanied Chris Hughton’s appointment as new Norwich City manager last week, the last few days have been all-too quiet by contrast.
The pulse will, no doubt, quicken again come Monday when the Premier League fixtures are announced. Little doubt as to which two, in particular, will be eagerly awaited. Aston Villa (a) and Aston Villa (h).
And with Hughton biding his time transfer-wise, sifting through his Norwich DVDs and running the rule over one or two ‘possibles’ playing in playing Poland and Ukraine this month, the only real ‘news’ of note has been Russell Martin putting pen to paper on a new, three-year deal.
And that – for now – has been it.
There was, however, one ‘snippet’ of news that did catch my attention.
It has nothing – directly – to do with Norwich, but may go a long way to explain why Messrs McNally and Bowkett are more than happy for Hughton to turn his eyes abroad this summer after the Canaries picked off ‘the low hanging fruit’ player-wise from the Football League.
It was the number that attached itself to the signature of Everton left-back Leighton Baines this summer; apparently one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘Most Wanted’ at Old Trafford.
Aged 27 and with three years left to run on his Goodison Park deal after signing a five-year deal in the summer of 2010, Baines is being quoted at ‘£20 million’.
I saw the figure in The Guardian first, but here it is in The Daily Mail.
Now, first things first.
This is not to cast doubt on Baines’ ability as a player; I’m sure he’s decent. Trouble is, England-wise, he just has the world’s best left-back ahead of him in the queue in Ashley Cole.
And, yes, this being summer we are in the silly season story-wise; numbers will be plucked out of the air here, there and everywhere. The Mirror had Baines worth only a mere £15 million, for example.
For a full-back. One that is, in fairness, probably approaching his physical peak playing-wise.
He is not the prospect that, say, a Kyle Naughton is – a player now said to be topping Paul Lambert’s shopping list at Villa.
What does Baines’ value make that young man’s signature worth? And just how grateful should the Canary Nation be that Russell Martin has been that bitten by the Norfolk bug that he so readily put pen to paper on a new, long-term deal?
Given the level of versatility and leadership he demonstrated in his first, full season in the top flight, what would his signature be worth in an ‘open market’?
And, again, what price Grant Holt is Baines weighs in at £20 million?
The Canary skipper isn’t 27; granted. But if his heart remains set on an exit this summer, he is surely worth further north of the £4 million that West Ham United have reportedly offered.
Southampton’s move for ‘J-Rod’ – Jay Rodriguez – is another, interesting ‘bench-mark’ for this summer’s Premiership sales.
Not just in the sense of the £6 million fee that went Burnley’s way for the fleet-footed 22-year-old, but the four-year deal that he and his ‘representative’ then prosed out of the newly-promoted South Coast club.
Ricky Lambert and J-Rod together might ruffle a few feathers; the latter’s new deal might also make the club accountant have a few, sleepless nights. Depending on just how many noughts the wage packet came with.
According to The Daily Star, the lad signed for £25,000 a week – so ‘as not to break Southampton’s rigid pay structure’.
Who knows if that figure is anywhere near the mark; but again, do the math. That’s £100,000 a month; £1.2 million a year; a £4.8 million contracted commitment over the course of that four-year deal. Added to the reported £6 million transfer fee, that’s £11 million walking out of the door at St Mary’s.
Give or take.
For one, talented 22-year-old.
Given such numbers, be it for Everton left-backs or Burnley strikers, it is little wonder that Hughton is being encouraged to look abroad this summer.