The advent of twitter means that it is fast replacing the hilarious football-rumours.co.uk as a source of terrible, terrible speculation. Where in previous years we would clamour for news, savouring each drop like the sugary junk it is, now we just have to log on and witness people ‘in the know’ talking about how Norwich are going to be making bids here, there and everywhere. This is usually done by people anonymously but under the guise of “football agent” or some other title, to claim some kind of credibility. And if we’re lucky, they might even have a blog where it gets posted to. The news inevitably ends up on NewsNow, we’ll all read it and the rumour mill starts up once again.
So it was to be for Leon Osman, Robert Snodgrass, Peter Whittingham and Richie De Laet. Apparently we’re now after Gabriel Obertan, the potato headed winger at Man Utd, for £4.2m. This would actually represent a profit for United who signed him for about £3m, though what he has done to earn them this profit is a mystery. Add to this the Swiss defender Steve von Bergen, which was outright rejected by David McNally (also on twitter) and England U21 defender Stephen Caulker of Spurs, suggested by leatherface himself, and we’ve got a whole host of players supposedly on their way to Norfolk.
And yet the only players who’ll actually end up here are Bradley Johnson and Elliott Bennett, both of which are expected to complete within a day or two. The only one of those rumours that has some shred of credibility is Caulker, and that’s if you consider Redknapp credible, but at least he’s put his name to it. It’s not some anonymous man behind a keyboard. When taken with a pinch of salt, what all this does show is the feverish clawing for news that we’re all going through. We all hate the off-season but rarely do we have one with this much excitement, and we all want to know what the team is going to look like come August.
One player I hope we don’t have at this time is Steven Smith. There are a lot of caveats to this story, such as whether Smith is the sort of player to do a Winston Bogarde and sit in the reserves on his high wages or not, and whether Craig Brown is just trying some negotiation tactics and force our hands with his comments. But the facts are these; Steven Smith, like every other player, will have gotten a wage rise upon our promotion. He also hates it in Norwich, couldn’t settle, didn’t break into the team and spend the rest of the season back in Scotland. There are a few reasons for this, not least his family not settling. Now, from Browns comments you would think Norwich are imprisoning Smith against his will, refusing to help him on his way. But the long and short is this – if Steven Smith is the sort of player who would rather earn more and be in the reserves, in a part of the country he and his family don’t like and working for a manager he clearly doesn’t get on with, then it tells you all you need to know about him. I hope he gets his move, because it’s one name off the wage bill and he can play football, but anyone who chooses to use the club like that can piss off. That isn’t the ‘hunger’ that gets you anywhere near Lamberts thought process.
As for other players, it’s becoming a bit clearer who’s going to be shaping up to leave. Stephen Hughes looks similarly set to head back to Scotland, while Cody McDonald is sure to move to a Championship or League One club sooner or later (and net us a healthy profit in the process). With Gill and Askou already off, I fully expect OTJ to head for the doors soon, followed by Oli Johnson. For players such as McNamee and Wilbraham, it’s a little more borderline – I suspect Lambert might see some sort of role for them, at least until January.
In other news, the club blew expectations out of the water with the genius video for the new kit, so kudos to that. We still have the away shirt to come so maybe couple of Italian inspired designs could go down well? Also, Football365 think we’re shit.