Stuart Webber on James Maddison’s future at Norwich City
PUBLISHED: 09:36 10 February 2018 | UPDATED: 23:43 10 February 2018
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James Maddison will leave on Norwich City’s terms - but Stuart Webber insists the Canaries were not tempted to make a quick buck in the January transfer window.
Webber confirmed on Friday they received no bids for the England Under-21 starlet, despite fevered speculation linking the midfielder with a host of top-end Premier League clubs.
City’s sporting director knows the time may come when there is a parting of the ways, but that was not last month.
“We know the financial picture here,” he said. “Look at January, we sold one player we probably didn’t want to sell, in Alex Pritchard, but kept all our up-and-coming players, whether it was Maddison, (Jamal) Lewis or (Christoph) Zimmermann.
“It wasn’t just about keeping James.
“There was some pressure around Nelson Oliveira but we kept him. James realises this manager is the only one who has picked him regularly at this level and given him the freedom to play and develop. He earned his England U21 cap due to playing for Norwich City.
“The difference between James and some others is he is very well advised. He has a top agent, who works with world class players.
“Listen, we are all realistic.
“At some point, James may well outgrow this club – whether that is in the Premier League or not - but when he does it will be to a good place and we will be well rewarded. But it will be when we decide.”
Maddison did not agitate for a move last month following some eye-catching performances.
“To go to the Premier League in January, potentially get relegated in three months, and then you are back at square one made no sense,” said Webber.
“James is very sensible and respectful of Daniel (Farke) and the club as a whole. We didn’t need to reassure him.
“Daniel talks to him daily. He is a really mature, sensible lad and his family give him that support.
“They were guests of Delia for the Middlesbrough game and once you meet them you can see why this lad has his head screwed on, because he has that network around him.
“His agent is sensible, he doesn’t need to make a quick buck by selling him in January or for his ego.
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“James gets it.
“He understands we have a plan for him and we are a fair club. If it does come a point where a player progresses quicker than the club that so be it, but it is the same all over. Coutinho outgrew Liverpool.
“James knows if and when that day comes he might move on. Let’s not kid ourselves and expect him to be here for 12 years, because football has changed.”
Webber is confident Maddison can see the long-term picture.
“He is 25 starts into his career and he is on a journey that is a marathon,” he said.
“We gave James a new deal in June last year because that was us saying we want to back you and make you a big player for Norwich. The same with Jamal.
“I think they appreciate that and there is not a clamour to go at the first opportunity.
“James knows he has the potential to play at a very, very high level but also knows he has a lot to do.”
Webber and Farke’s faith in youth is a key part of dealing with the financial reality at Carrow Road.
“There still seems that expectation in some quarters we should be spending £10m on a striker,” he said.
“We have tried to be honest and not pull the wool over other’s eyes. That is difficult to manage.
“As for the size of the task I came here with my eyes open, as did Daniel, and we knew there would be difficult periods but we have a plan.
“Hopefully people can see that in terms of developing young players.”
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