Canaries chief doesn’t want to limit ambitions – as Oliveira exit looms
PUBLISHED: 19:30 03 August 2018 | UPDATED: 19:42 03 August 2018
ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434
Stuart Webber knows full well that Norwich City’s self-funding model makes it difficult for fans to set their sights too high for the new season – but is in no mood to talk down his side’s chances.
The Canaries’ sporting director said there should be “no limits” on hopes for the season ahead of Saturday’s opening Championship fixture away to Birmingham.
Webber did however make it clear that head coach Daniel Farke will be targeting an improvement on finishing 14th last season.
“We know that what we have to do is believe in our way and find our way through it,” he said.
“Which we know is different. We’re not chucking the chequebook at it, we’re chucking hopefully hard work, a mentality, a style of play, a direction, young players – but we’ve certainly got to work hard and improve on last season.
“We know that, we can’t sit 14th and be happy with that, that’s not how it works because when you sign up to work for Norwich City it’s a big club with big expectations and if you can’t handle that, leave, is my advice.”
With seven signings following the big-money exits of James Maddison and Josh Murphy the big transfer issue remaining is the likely exit of striker Nelson Oliveira, who didn’t feature at all in pre-season.
“We spoke at the end of the season, agreed it might be best for all of us if his future lies elsewhere,” Webber said, adding that players can be sold to clubs abroad beyond Thursday’s transfer deadline, with the loan window closing on August 31.
“We then had the same conversation when he came back in and I was honest with him and said ‘we can’t wait until the end of the window to replace you’. He said ‘of course, you have to do what’s right for Norwich, I’m grateful for the opportunity you gave me, you paid a lot of money for me, you’ve paid me a lot.
“That’s when we signed Teemu (Pukki) and Jordan (Rhodes). We always agreed that he wouldn’t play the games in pre-season because it would be about the boys who are going to be here but then the door is always open.”
He added: “We all expect Nelson to go and he probably expects that as well but at the same time he’s still got two years left on his contract, he’s an unbelievably good player, a good professional, and if he is still here he probably strengthens us a little bit.”
Russell Martin and Remi Matthews are still likely to be leaving on loan but Webber says neither player is close to leaving.
Matthews is set for another loan spell after the arrival of Tim Krul as number one and long-serving defender Russell Martin remains out of favour, having spent the second half of last season at Rangers.
“Remi is the most likely to go out, I guess sooner rather than later, just because of his situation,” Webber explained. “He’s 24 and he needs to go and play games, which isn’t going to happen here in the short term.
“Russ it’s been quiet, he had a little bit of a back injury when we were in Germany but touch wood that’s all cleared up now, so we’ll see.
“I’m sure there will be lots of takers for Russ because of what he has done in the game and I think people probably forget he’s only 32 so I’m sure something will happen with him as we go through the window, with the loan window open until the end of August. So there’s no real pressure with those two.”