The pace of transfer activity at Carrow Road is likely to quicken again this week as the start of the new month finds dozens of players rolling out of their existing, June-to-June contracts – and are, therefore, free to seek pastures new.
Scottish international Steven Whittaker, of course, didn’t actually have to wait until the end of the month; Rangers’ financial implosion left the 28-year-old a free agent as he refused to re-sign for the ‘Newco Rangers’ – instead putting pen to paper on a four-year deal in Norfolk.
The versatile defender will recognise at least two faces at Colney when he arrives for pre-season training next week – ex-St Mirren star Simon Lappin and new Scottish international Russell Martin.
With Rangers’ exact whereabouts in the Scottish league pyramid still the subject of intense debate, Whittaker wasn’t about to hang around and find himself plying his trade in the Scottish First Division.
Not when Norwich made their interest known. “When I spoke to Chris Hughton I was very impressed with his plans to progress Norwich City,” Whittaker told the club’s official website this weekend.
“Everyone I have spoken to in the game has had nothing but praise for the club and the city of Norwich.”
If Whittaker was Hughton’s No1 summer transfer through the door, reports were growing that Barnsley’s young skipper Jacob Butterfield could be No2. His contract expired at Oakwell overnight and Tykes boss Keith Hill knows that his young star is at one of those crossroads moments.
“We’ve made the best financial offer we can and it’s getting to a time where he needs to make a decision,” Hill told BBC Radio Sheffield earlier this summer.
Injured for the back end of last season after being whacked in the Yorkshire derby with Leeds United and tearing a cruciate knee ligament in the process, Butterfield is reported to have had a clutch of Premier League admirers. He had grabbed five, stunning goals and an England Under-21 cap before his season ended abruptly on New Year’s Eve.
Hill was hoping to persuade the Bradford-born midfielder – the youngest player to ever skipper Barnsley – to at least give him to January; one last fling at Oakwell before his blossoming talents took him onto a higher stage.
“I’d encourage him to stay here and play one more season with Barnsley,” Hill told the BBC, as the transfer rumour mill sprang into life and linked the young man with an imminent switch to Norfolk.
He added: “If he did that and showcased his ability the way he was doing in the first half of last season then we’d endorse him moving to an elite side.
“I’m not optimistic that he will stay but I’ve got a good relationship with Jacob and his agent.”
Aged just 22, Butterfield will be going nowhere on a free; a tribunal will, in theory, have to sit and set his fee. But it appears ever more likely that he will be away and out of Barnsley this summer.
SkySports had him linked to a switch to the North-East earlier this summer, claiming that both Newcastle United and Middlesbrough were keen to take the England Under-21 midfielder out of Oakwell. They have also thrown Everton and Stoke City into the mix before now.
According to this weekend’s Barnsley Star, the club had yet to receive any formal offers for their injured skipper; now fast on the mend. The Barnsley Chronicle, however, had D-Day fast approaching.
“There should be developments over the next few days but I can’t go into details at the moment,” Butterfield told the paper.
He was not, however, about to swap one Championship club for another; should no top flight deal materialise, he would be staying put.
“I’ve said all along that I want to make the step up and play in the Premier League, it’s where I’ve wanted to play since I was a little boy. If that doesn’t happen then I don’t want to play for another Championship team – I’m happy at Barnsley.”
Or rather, for now. In common with so many of his colleagues, @jlbutterfield had something to say on Twitter.
‘Announcement on my future on monday,’ he said, simply.