Opinion: Is it time for Norwich City to cash in on Gary Hooper?
Norwich City were made an offer they simply could not refuse for Robert Snodgrass. They might face the same dilemma again between now and the end of the summer transfer window.
Gary Hooper is the latest Canary to grab a few column inches over recent days with the Mirror claiming QPR boss Harry Redknapp is keen to revive his interest after Hooper spurned Rangers’ advances 12 months ago to seal his dream Premier League move.
Then the west Londoners had slipped out of the top flight and faced the arduous terrain of the Championship. The role reversal leaves City unable to offer Hooper or Ricky van Wolfswinkel or Seb Bassong for that matter the same platform they failed to shine on last season.
Norwich is under no financial pressure to sell; nor is there the same contractual leverage that tipped the balance in Snodgrass’ favour. Hooper was content to pledge his future to these parts until 2016. The 26-year-old will only leave on the Canaries’ terms should QPR or any other potential suitor emerge from the shadows for the former Celtic hitman, van Wolfswinkel, Leroy Fer and the rest.
Financial considerations are just one facet. Neil Adams must assess the football dimension. Do Norwich’s chances of an instant Premier League return improve with Hooper on the payroll or not? Lewis Grabban and Kyle Lafferty have bolstered a forward line that failed to fire under his predecessor. City have also missed out on Coventry’s Callum Wilson but there will be others who arrive.
Hooper mustered eight goals in 34 appearances during his first season at Carrow Road; a figure skewered by a productive pre-Christmas spell. Injury stunted his early progress and Norwich’s downward spiral limited his effectiveness and his exposure in the final throes, but the 26-year-old has been a prolific threat at all his previous career postings.
Given Adams’ pledge to not only address personnel issues but unleash City’s latent attacking potential Hooper could be an effective spearhead in a division where he scored 19 goals with Scunthorpe back in 2009/10.
Hooper and Ajax forward Kolbeinn Sigthorsson have been mentioned in despatches as Redknapp tries to equip Rangers for top flight survival. Adams had to knock back speculation Hooper favoured a Canaries’ exit earlier in the summer. City’s boss has made it clear in recent times departures are inevitable, with those on the periphery of his plans unlikely to settle for a minor role in the club’s fightback.
Norwich’s manager and newly-constructed football executive board will have decisions to make and enquiries to field, but you can expect them to stick to the Snodgrass principle.