Norwich City will not be found wanting in the transfer horse-trading

Posted by Paddy Davitt

AllsportNorwich City manager Chris Hughton is the subject of debate.

In the midst of endless transfer rumours and gossip surrounding both Newcastle United and Norwich City comes a brief respite in the form of a Premier League contest at Carrow Road.

Alan Pardew confirmed on Monday afternoon that Yohan Cabaye will travel to Norfolk as part of the Magpies’ squad following a reported 14 million pound bid from Paris St Germain. By the end of the day, events had taken a nasty twist with PSG agreeing "in principle" -- subject to personal terms and a medical -- to sign Newcastle's mercurial Frenchman.

That will not concern Norwich in the slightest. Chris Hughton’s news conference at the club’s Colney training base on Monday was dominated entirely by who the Canaries have targeted in their own recruitment drive and who may be leaving, rather than subduing the visible threat of Loic Remy or Yoan Gouffran -- two players who proved the difference in the corresponding fixture before Christmas at St James’ Park.

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Hughton dismissed widespread reports of a firm bid for Blackburn’s Scott Dann. Enquiries regarding the scale of his interest in the Magpies’ Steven Taylor and Lazio’s Michael Ciani were politely sidestepped, but central defence remains an obvious area of weakness for the Premier League run-in. Michael Turner’s hamstring injury shows no signs of easing in the short term and with Hughton sanctioning a permanent move to Middlesbrough for Dani Ayala, he now has only two fit senior central defenders on his books in captain Seb Bassong and recent Hull match-winner Ryan Bennett.

Hughton insisted that should the window slam shut with no fresh additions to a vulnerable part of his squad, he can still turn to the dependable Russell Martin or the versatile Steven Whittaker, but that would be a game of chance hardly in step with the methodical reputation of Norwich's measured manager.

Hughton was far more bullish on those rivals who seek to part him from some of his prized assets. Aston Villa’s pursuit of Wes Hoolahan had already reached a dead end after Villa’s initial enquiry was dismissed as "derisory" and Hoolahan’s own transfer request was then dealt with in a similarly decisive manner. Swansea’s "bid" for Anthony Pilkington is yet to reach the people who matter inside the corridors of power at Carrow Road, whilst any potential approach from the Swans for Norwich’s England Under-21 starlet Nathan Redmond holds limited appeal to his club or the player himself, who spoke with such maturity prior to his manager’s arrival to face the press on Monday afternoon.

The underlying message ahead of a frenetic final few days in the market is an unequivocal one. Norwich are a club in the business of construction not destruction. The Canaries are acutely proud of the fact none of their senior stars have left against the club’s wishes on the rise from the depths of League One. There is nothing in the public or private persona to suggest that stance is set to soften. Newcastle may well find they are not able to match Norwich’s truculence over the coming days once the small matter of three Premier League points is decided.


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