There were massive sighs of relief from Norwich City management and fans alike at the start of the month, as the transfer window closed with all of our starlets remaining at the club.
The Canaries were top of the table and in fine form, with Max Aarons, Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell the subject of reported interest from a number of clubs.
Despite the window having now closed until the end of the season, talk has once again began about one of them departing Carrow Road for pastures new to none other than current Champions League, World Club Championship and Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich; potential suitor for Aarons.
Sky Sports report that a bid of £30-35 million would be required to secure the services of our highly-rated England Under-21 player.
This valuation, although not confirmed by the club, follows up recent comments from Stuart Webber who insisted that teams only need make realistic offers for our prized assets.
The fact of the matter is that, while successful, we will always invite transfer interest for our crown jewels and so we should embrace it, as opposed to being worried of them leaving.
The success of Ben Godfrey at Everton, who currently looks a snip at a reported £25 million with add-ons, mixed with the effect of Brexit means we will have an ability to command higher fees.
As Everton continue to develop under Carlo Ancelotti, many will look to try and copy the Toffees model, meaning promising Championship level players are likely to become of more interest to established Premier League clubs.
Maybe even, specifically, young players from ourselves, with our proven track record of player development, of which we’ve boasted now for decades. Godfrey, Jamal Lewis and most recently and most notably James Maddison have quickly established themselves as first-team regulars at higher-level clubs.
The complexity of signing EU based players in a post-Brexit Britain, means the need to sign younger talent, that can be nurtured will increase considerably, and this leaves us in an interesting position regarding our transfer policy.
Do we command top dollar for the highest bidder for each players? Or do we avoid the temptation of a big pay day and try to buck the trend of being a yo-yo club and consolidate our Premier League status should we achieve promotion?
Since relegation in 2014, we’ve returned to the top flight on two occasions, but both times we have finished in the drop zone.
Both campaigns saw very disappointing levels of pre-season investment, which in the 2016 January transfer window resulted a tumultuous recruitment drive, tying us to big wages and plunging the club to concerning financial depths.
Last time out, we avoided dangerous mid-season investment, learning from previous mistakes. Promotion and the inevitable relegation was part of the business model. Take the financial rewards of promotion, sell off a little bit of talent where cover at Championship was already in place and aim for promotion.
All of which takes us back to Max Aarons, with a list of suitors longer than your arm. Maybe allowing him to go to the biggest bidder would be a wise idea?
Sam Byram’s return will be like having a new signing, as he was one of few who consistently impressed during last term’s disappointment. This means Bali Mumba could then be nurtured as the heir to the throne, locked in competition with, let’s say, a new arrival with more experience.
When it comes to Cantwell and Buendia, I honestly don’t think we have players who could fill the void at the higher level. In Buendia’s absence, we’ve managed to win just one match out of 16, which comes as little surprise after watching the Millwall and Swansea games.
Emi is literally indispensable and thankfully his contract doesn’t run out until summer 2024. His skill and talent is top notch and we’re a different animal when he plays; there is nobody who can step into those Argentinian boots of magic.
Next up, Cantwell, a player who divides opinion between supporters, unfairly in my eyes.
He looked at home in the Premier League and was without doubt one of our best performers. I think it’s the level where truly belongs and probably frustrates slightly at this step, due to more direct and robust defending.
However, Todd is a flair player who compliments Buendia and Pukki well, and when all three are clicking we look fantastic, last Saturday and last night being perfect examples.
Neither Buendia or Cantwell can be replaced by our ‘next cabs off the rank’ so I believe we need to ensure we keep both players at all costs.
I’m not saying I want us to sell Aarons, far from it, but my belief is that should we need to sell one of the three, it would make more sense for the sake of keeping a balanced squad and financial gain if he was to be the one to move on.
And if there is a real tussle for 21-year-old Londoner, then hopefully Webber can work his magic and do a deal where he’s sold, but we then retain him on loan for a season, in the hope we can stay up.
We can dream.