Unlike some who write about City, I have no access to ‘inside information’; no links with someone ‘in the know’. As such, I have no idea if the latest round of rumours are with or without substance.
However, the one regarding Chelsea’s apparent £5million bid for John Ruddy struck a chord. The big man is without question central to Chris Hughton’s plans – literally the first name on his team-sheet – and, despite the Arsenal rumours that persisted at the end of last season, the prospect of City kicking-off next season without him has not once registered even a bleep on my radar.
Yet, if we are to believe The Sun, the West-Londoners have not only made a formal bid, but have had it immediately rebuffed by David McNally and co – £5million, in the words of the legend that is Darren Huckerby, sufficient to buy them only Ruddy’s ‘right shinpad’.
While the initial offer from Abramovich’s people was typically derisory, there is clearly more where the initial £5million came from. If Jose Mourinho wants Ruddy badly enough it’s inconceivable to think he can’t wave a wad of cash so thick that McNally will be tempted to eventually ‘whip his hand off’.
Whether the big man will be equally tempted is a different matter. The lure of ‘the smoke’ would probably – and annoyingly – enhance his England prospects considerably, but afford him decent chunks of Premier League game-time? Not a chance.
Similarly, while the lure of Champions League football may well be used as a carrot, I wouldn’t expect Ruddy to usurp Petr Cech when the Barcelonas and Bayerns are in town.
However, if silverware is what rocks his boat, even a place on the Chelsea bench will be sufficient to secure him a medal or two over the next few seasons.
Ruddy, by all accounts, is a thoroughly decent chap. Whether that decent chap would be swayed by a pay slip that is worth three times his current one – the winners’ medals aside – is clearly key, but it goes without saying that he’d be insane not to be tempted. We all would.
If he considers those rewards sufficient in exchange for sitting on the bench alongside the Chelsea doctor then good luck to him; he’d depart with our best wishes and we’d move on.
But, for now, those already thinking about a Ruddy replacement are jumping the gun and it currently remains one of many non-stories.
Talking of which, Ola Toivenon is still sunning himself in foreign climes while waiting anxiously for his mobile to ring. Judging by this morning’s comments from PSV technical manager Marcel Brands, City’s offer is still the only one on the table, which most likely leaves one very tetchy Swede.
With PSV affording their ‘want-away’ international an extra two days of summer leave (they resume training next Monday), he now has until next Wednesday to make his decision.
If his agent doesn’t make his day by phoning through another, ‘better’ offer then Toivenon has one heck of a decision to make. By all accounts, his Eindhoven bridges have been well and truly burnt, so if the Canaries are the only show in town what’s the poor lad to do?
Either way, it will be fascinating to see how this one plays out and, despite his all too obvious reticence, I’d still like to see the Swede in canary yellow next season.
One who looks increasingly like he may have slipped through the Hughton/McNally net is Birmingham’s Nathan Redmond. Clearly on his way out of the second city, the England Under-21 international has made clear – via his representatives – of his desire to join Everton, despite City and Swansea being the only two confirmed and accepted bids.
Those contemplating having ‘Redmond’ on the back of their new City shirts would be well advised to hold fire.
A new one for us all to mull over is Dutch midfielder Leroy Fer. A strapping ‘box to box’ midfielder with a useful goal-scoring record, Fer was on the brink of a move to Everton back in January but saw his dream move to the Premier League end when the Merseysiders pulled out at the eleventh hour; ‘financial issues’ apparently the deal-breaker.
While reports of him having a Norwich medical have been dismissed as premature by his agent, the same gentleman does confirm he expects his client to move to England before the new season starts.
With Newcastle also throwing their hat into the ring, and Everton still in the mix, there looks to be some considerable work to be done before East Anglia becomes Fer’s preferred destination.
All of which means we are actually no further forward than we were a month ago; Ricky van Wolfswinkel the only confirmed new face at next week’s Colney fitness tests.
Whether the agonising fight for signatures is simply a by-product of being at the top table or whether it’s a case of City struggling to compete with those more affluent and more established remains to be seen, but I can’t help thinking those bookmakers who already have us down as relegation ‘favourites’ are doing us few favours.
Having always been a firm ‘it matters little what the bookies and pundits say’ advocate, I’m now a little curious as to whether their condescending attitude towards ‘little Norwich’ does in fact have an impact when it comes to the transfer free-for-all.
While we are all acutely aware of the wider story that’s developing in sleepy Norfolk, those not blessed with a first-hand view of events in these parts are clearly seeing a very different picture.
We know we’re massive; I just have an inkling that David McNally having a little difficulty in convincing others of this fact.
But… as always,’ in McNally we trust’.