December 12 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, EDP Sports Writer
Friday, January 11, 2013
Norwich City boss Chris Hughton has denied the Canaries have made a multi-million pound offer for Celtic hitman Gary Hooper.
Hughton yesterday dismissed mounting speculation City had launched a firm bid for the Bhoys’ striker, who has reportedly rejected a fresh deal to stay at the Champions League qualifiers beyond his current contract.
“No, that is not correct,” said Hughton, when questioned directly on reports of a move for Hooper following his recent scouting trip to Parkhead. “We are looking for players to strengthen what we have already got. I know the media will link us with players in a certain position on the field, but we have never stated or quoted that we are looking at strikers. If we can improve the squad we will look to do it.
“There are always players that we going to be linked with. That is normal. That is the same for every club. One thing we are adamant about is anyone we bring in has got to really add to the quality we have. Certainly if something happens it will be because it is right for us. Would I like to add to the squad? Yes, I would. But only if it is the right player. I wouldn’t just bring somebody in just for the sake of a couple of names. They would have to be able to get into the team.”
Hughton refused to be drawn on serial reports putting Norwich in the frame for Swansea’s free-scoring striker Danny Graham and Leeds frontman Luciano Becchio, but the Norwich boss was prepared to distance the Canaries from a potential January move for Hamburg midfielder Per Ciljan Skjelbred. Hughton labelled talk he had previously scouted the Norwegian during his spell at Newcastle as well wide of the mark.
“No, no I didn’t. Somebody else might have but I certainly didn’t,” he said. “I must admit I don’t know too much about him. The other two are both very good players but as I’ve already said, you probably know what the answer is. We will always do our work behind the scenes. We would like to do something but, if not, we are quite happy with the squad.”
Hughton yesterday sanctioned a loan return to Nottingham Forest for Elliott Ward until the end of the season that is likely to signal the end of his Canaries career, with the centre back able to move on in the summer as a free agent.
“Yes, probably. Of course it depends on how well he does and I am hoping he does well enough that Forest would like to offer him something at the end of that loan period,” said Hughton. “I know they’ve had a few well-documented problems of late but they have taken him back on the strength of what they saw in his first period. Yes, I certainly hope that leads to something permanent.”
Striker Chris Martin has also remained at League One promotion hopefuls Swindon for an additional month, but Hughton is not prepared to call time on Martin’s Norwich stint with the former academy prospect also in the final months of his current City deal.
“Chris is probably a little bit different. He has gone on a shorter loan period,” said Hughton. “He hasn’t played in all the games and he perhaps wouldn’t have scored the goals he would have liked and he is one we continue to assess but he needed to get away to play games.”
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich’s soft centre again contributed to their downfall as Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to a 5-1 Premier League win on Wednesday night at Anfield.