Video: Norwich City’s chief executive David McNally on transfers and the Wes Hoolahan saga
15:03 15 February 2014
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Norwich City’s hopes of bringing in an attacking midfielder from a ‘huge’ club were dashed in the January transfer window.
The Canaries recruited Jonas Gutierrez and Joseph Yobo on short term loan deals but David McNally has revealed they had also targeted a creative midfielder on loan in a bid to address City’s chronic goal output.
“We were very close to bringing in a creative midfielder,” he said.
“We were in the market for a number 10 or someone to play just off a striker and we were very close to taking someone on loan from a huge club. What it needed was for one of their targets to come in and then it would have happened, until the end of the season. It would have made a huge difference in that area but the good news is Jon (Howson) is close to being back with us after injury and he is someone we have missed who has played in that part of the pitch and we have missed him. Of course Wes (Hoolahan) is also back in the fold so we have two players now available that were not at the start of January, although Jonny might take a while fitness-wise to get fully up to speed.”
Hughton believes both Gutierrez and Yobo’s experience will prove vital over.
“Those two were crucial reinforcements,” he said. “Joseph has played 95 times for Nigeria and Jonas 22 times for Argentina and bringing them in on a short term basis, knowing the character of these men is first class, was better for us that investing on a four year contract on someone of less quality. That was the judgement we made.
“Having been in the game many years now January is about short-term measures to ensure the squad is complimented rather than a wholesale re-shaping of the staff.”
Wes Hoolahan’s publicity campaign was never going to engineer a January transfer window move away from Norwich City.
David McNally revealed there was ‘less than one percent chance’ of the Irishman leaving despite a saga triggered by Aston Villa’s initial enquiry and a rejected transfer request from the club’s longest-serving player all played out in the media spotlight.
The Canaries’ chief executive admitted none of the three criteria set by the club were met.
“Things happen in football, we all know that, and players have their heads turned. That was my reading of that particular situation,” he said.
“We made it clear to Wes that he was in our plans for this year and the future. Ironically he had played in three of the previous four games. That said, in football you can be given an offer you cannot refuse and if that is the case then you don’t refuse it. That would have been the second element of the matter we would have had to consider and the final element would have been trying to get a replacement because he is a unique footballer in that number 10 position and they are difficult to find. They were huge hurdles to overcome and I always felt there was less than one percent chance of him leaving.”
McNally understood Hoolahan’s frustrations at his relative lack of first team action this season.
“Of course because a footballer has a relatively short career,” he said.
“He was entitled to make a request, just as we were entitled to reject it. I have no issues whatsoever with Wes. I understand his position. I believe he understands Norwich’s position as well.
“I think there was a change in advisor and that is Wes’ prerogative but as we both know in football agents normally only earn money if a transaction takes place and you get your player to leave. That is not a complaint just the reality of the game so I don’t think either Wes or the football club were helped by the new advisor and his PR tactics. It did unsettle Wes but his response since has been terrific.”
City also engaged with Villa’s hierarchy directly over their pursuit of the player.
“We felt there were some things said in the media that were unnecessary, but we would have done the deal if we were happy. It is business, it is not personal,” said McNally.
“If we had decided we were comfortable in selling Wes then we would have sold him to the highest bidder. We have no issues in dealing with Aston Villa. We have dealt with that with them directly and we move on now.”