The formalities of Shane Duffy becoming a Canary won’t be completed until July 1, but his ‘launch’ on Friday was, in the end, a relief for those of us who feared the cooling of the rumour was indicative of the player considering other offers.
It wasn’t. When they arrive at Colney in a fortnight for fitness testing, Master Duffy, along with Messrs Barnes and Stacey, will be among them.
One or two eyebrows were raised when it was revealed Duffy has been given a three-year deal, taking him through to the summer of 2026 by which time he will be 34, but it boils down to how important Duffy is to Stuart Webber and David Wagner’s plans.
And I’d suggest, given that Grant Hanley’s ruptured Achilles will likely rule him out for the rest of 2023, he’s very important. Doubly so when it appears Andrew Omobamidele has been tagged with the world’s biggest For Sale sign.
Duffy has not been brought in to be a squad player or be a backup to anyone. He’s here, hopefully, as part of a new-look spine; one that won’t wilt and crumble when put under the slightest hint of pressure. And, as such, if it took the offer of a three-year deal to get it over the line, then so be it.
As someone mentioned on my Twitter feed, for a 31-year-old, perhaps a two-year deal plus an option for another would have been the ideal compromise but, equally, from the perspective of Duffy (and his agent) this is likely going to be his last big deal.
Not for the first time and definitely not the last, it’s a signing on which scorn has been poured by many from outside Norwich City, not least Celtic fans who have nothing good to say about the 18 games the Irishman played on loan for them in 2020-21.
Scorn also poured in from south of the River Waveney, as that very very chirpy lot in blue collectively decided that because we’ve already signed a 33-year-old and have, in addition to Duffy, been linked with another 30-something, we’re looking to bring together a Dad’s Army of old heads.
It’s complete rubbish of course – for all the faults of Webber and Wagner, what they’re trying to do right now, is address the fact that at the end of the season, it was a team that was too young, too inexperienced, and too naive.
I have no problem with that, and I don’t think any supporters do. But let them chirp. They’re on cloud nine at the minute and are fully expecting to steamroller all before them in next season’s Championship in a Paul Lambert 2010-11 style.
We really should play along with our Suffolk brethren and the Club’s social media team should give the full unveiling treatment – slow-mo vid, the tour of Colney, the interview – to a Sergeant Wilson.
Back in the real world, the other 30-something mentioned above was Tom Ince. Whether this one has any legs is very hard to say, but it is one that appeared to emanate from a Reading paper, where it was revealed that the release clause in Ince’s current contract is just £50,000.
The cynic in me thinks perhaps it’s merely a mechanism for the player’s agent to make other clubs aware of the oddly low release figure.
Either way, he’s a player I’ve always thought was quite good but who appeared to save his very best form for when playing for his dad. It feels a bit too premature to have strong feelings about this one either way.
But things are definitely moving.
Obviously, if the only additions to the squad come opening day are the three we have already, no one will be happy, especially given that Max Aarons, Andrew Omobamidel and, possibly, Marcelino Núñez could be departing, but that’s unlikely to be the case.
Right now, Barnes for Pukki, Stacey for Aarons (maybe) and Duffy for Omobamidele (maybe) looks like a collective downgrade but the purpose of the exercise is to make us better and so there is still work to be done and time to do it.
Having been, by my recent standards, reasonably upbeat in this piece, it feels only right to end it with a moan, if that’s okay?
Like many of us, I watched last night’s Champions League final. But, unlike many, I was completely unmoved by City winning it.
The tears of Guardiola, Grealish, and Rodrigo meant nothing. I felt not a single ounce of pride that an English team had just lifted European football’s biggest prize. It felt hollow. Even for Man City fans, it must have felt the same, as does every single trophy lift. At least a little bit.
Because this is no football fairytale, as much as the BT Sport commentators and experts try and convince us otherwise. And I certainly didn’t agree, and I quote, that, “The greatest story in club history finally has an ending”.
And I couldn’t have given a monkey’s whether or not Joleon Lescott was feeling nervous as the minutes ticked away.
Of course, they’re a brilliant team with brilliant players and are managed by the best coach in world football. For me, the greatest achievement is Guardiola’s, in how he manages and motivates a squad of such supreme quality
He is exceptional. Of that, there is no doubt. But it ends there.
It’s all been achieved, thanks to Sheikh Mansour, on what is effectively a bottomless pit of money. And with them armed with said bottomless pit, UEFA and then the Premier League both believe they have played fast and loose with the rules, specifically those of Financial Fair Play.
For the record, they are currently facing 115 Premier League charges of breaches of financial rules, charges that they deny and for which they will defend themselves.
Worth noting too is that the UEFA charges, for which they were initially given a two-year ban from European competition and a fine, were eventually overturned on appeal.
But when you have an endless supply of cash you can, of course, afford the best lawyers.
Sheikh Mansour was in Istanbul last night. It was only the second game he had attended since buying the club in 2008. The second.
What a fairytale.
So forgive me if I give a swerve to the live coverage later of City parading the European Cup through the streets of Manchester. I have no wish to see a still-leathered Jack Grealish belting out Blue Moon or a gurning Kyle Walker at the front of the bus in his designer shades showing off his trophy.
I’m sure Man City fans will lap it up though. And good for them.
There… I feel better now 🙂