Norwich City and Stuart Webber have taken the unusual step of commenting in detail on the transfer of Jonny Howson to Middlesbrough. I say ‘unusual’ because this sort of thing hasn’t happened in recent times, perhaps though this sort of communication with the fans is the future.
It turns out that Howson wanted the transfer and made it known via his agent that he would spurn the offer of a new contract at Carrow Road.
This is what Webber had to say:
‘I said to Jonny on Wednesday that we had a valuation for him,’ he told canaries.co.uk
‘If Middlesbrough met that valuation he could go. If they didn`t meet that valuation, then he couldn`t go.
‘On Thursday night, they met that valuation and we gave him permission to speak to them. We`ve always said we have to balance the books and be creative to enable us to strengthen the squad.
‘Every player has a price and once that was met for Jonny, with the player having said he didn`t want to be here, we made the decision to let him go.’
‘Jonny, via his agent, made it very clear during my first week in the job he didn`t want to be here and wanted to move back to the north.
‘It`s been a really challenging start for Daniel [Farke], being met with two senior players in Jonny and Graham Dorrans making it clear they didn`t want to be here. They were both desperate to go from well before he arrived.
‘We spoke with Jonny about a new contract but he was insistent. At the training camp this week he didn`t train properly and didn`t act in the manner that a professional should so it was decided he should train alone.
‘No player will leave unless it`s on our terms from a financial point of view and it was about us getting the best deal for the football club.’
The talk is that we got a fee of around £6m for Jonny, a fee that Webber says will now help with further recruitment this summer.
‘What this does is enable us to go back into the market,’ he explained.
‘Daniel and myself have both come out publicly to say we are short in a few positions. We`d like to sign another left-back and a centre-back and will also replace Jonny with at least one more midfield player.
‘With Jonny leaving we can probably now action those deals a little bit quicker than we would have before. We look at the positive that we can now invest further into the squad, having already signed five players.
‘We now have a more settled squad, allowing Daniel to continue his work. We now have a set of players who want to be here and want to take us forward and who buy into what Daniel wants to do.
‘You could see against Cobh the players were desperate to impress their new manager. We have a core of a really good squad, which we will be adding to in order to make it stronger.’
With the arrival of Vrancic and Reed, we have effectively already replaced Howson and Dorrans but the long term injury to Louis Thompson suggests we need another midfielder to put the numbers back where they were.
This communication is informative and welcome from a fan’s point of view. More likely though is that this is a PR job to point out that when a player won’t sign a new contract and then wants a move, effectively forcing it, that there is little choice but to sell him.