John Ruddy and Ryan Bennett among seven players to be released by Norwich City this summer
PUBLISHED: 13:14 02 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:18 03 May 2017
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Norwich City have announced that goalkeeper John Ruddy and centre-back Ryan Bennett are among seven senior players who are being allowed to leave on a free transfer this summer.
The long-serving duo are joined by defenders Sebastien Bassong, Michael Turner and Steven Whittaker, midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu and striker Kyle Lafferty in being informed they will not have their contracts renewed.
Sporting director Stuart Webber has informed the group of players that they will be free agents as of June 30 but City have also confirmed that goalkeeper Declan Rudd and young left-back Harry Toffolo have had one-year extensions in their contracts activated.
“We’d like to place on record our sincere thanks to all of the players who are moving on for their contribution to the club and wish them all the very best in the next chapter in their careers,” Webber said.
“We’re also pleased to have Harry Toffolo and Declan Rudd back with us when the season ends after successful loan spells at Scunthorpe United and Charlton Athletic respectively.”
The Canaries retained one-year options on Ruddy, Bennett and Lafferty but have decided not to activate those clauses, as work to reduce the club’s wage bill and freshen up a stale squad begins.
Bassong, Turner, Whittaker and Mulumbu are all out of contract this summer and were expected to leave but now know their futures lie elsewhere.
Whittaker has been linked with a return to Scotland with Hibernian in recent days and Bassong has been linked with a move to Turkey, with Bursaspor reportedly keen to bring him in.
Ruddy is the biggest name casualty having joined from Everton in 2010 and helped Paul Lambert’s team win promotion to the Premier League.
The 30-year-old has made a total of 242 appearances for the club to place him 46th in City’s all-time appearances list.
It is understood that Ruddy’s ability is not the reason for the one-cap England international being allowed to leave but the wages he would command if his one-year contract extension was renewed.
Bennett joined from Peterborough United for around £3m in January 2012 and has gone on to make 119 appearances, with injury sometimes hampering his progress, although he has played 37 times in the current campaign and started the last three matches.
Bassong has made 135 appearances since joining from Tottenham Hotspur for £4m in the summer of 2012, scoring five goals, and was named player of the season at the end of his first season as he helped Chris Hughton steer City to 11th place in the Premier League.
Has dropped in and out of favour ever since, being dropped by Neil Adams in the unsuccessful fight against relegation in 2014 but brought back from a loan spell at Watford by Alex Neil in January 2015 and playing a key role in promotion back to the top flight.
Made 36 appearances last season as the Canaries dropped back down to the Championship but has played just 13 times in the current campaign, featuring in just one of the last 24 matches.
Whittaker was also brought in during the summer of 2012 and had a one-year option activated last summer to keep him with the club and has offered able cover, with the full-back taking his tally to 106 games and seven goals.
Turner also arrived that summer when he signed from Sunderland for an undisclosed fee and racked up 75 games and four goals, with spells on loan at Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday along the way. The big centre-back was another to have had a one-year option activated in his contract but has only made two substitute appearances in the League Cup this season.
Lafferty was signed in 2014 but has made little impact since joining from Palermo, despite performing well for Northern Ireland, scouring four goals in 39 games and spending time on loan at Ceykur Rizespor in Turkey and with Birmingham City. He has made 16 appearances this season but 14 have been from the bench, scoring just twice.
Mulumbu was signed on a free transfer from West Brom following promotion back to the top flight in 2015 but saw his time in Norfolk disrupted by injuries, the Democratic Republic of Congo midfielder making a total of 24 appearance across his two seasons.
It now remains to be seen whether any of the outgoing players will be involved against QPR in City’s final game of the season at Carrow Road on Sunday.