December 11 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Friday, August 23, 2013
Chris Hughton is in no rush to offload Norwich City centre-back Dani Ayala after the Spaniard was yesterday touted with a permanent move to Championship club Middlesbrough.
Hughton declined to confirm reports in the north-east Ayala could join the Teesiders on an initial loan deal prior to a permanent January switch. The 22-year-old spent the majority of last season on loan at Championship rivals Nottingham Forest and Hughton accepts it is in Ayala’s best interests to play regular football. The former Liverpool trainee was part of the club’s US tour but has yet to make a senior appearance under Hughton and the City chief was offering no guarantees Ayala would remain at Carrow Road beyond the September 2 transfer window deadline.
“We are making assessments of the whole squad,” said Hughton. “We have brought in eight players now but we have had more go the other way so we have to get the balances right. We have to feel everyone within the squad can give us that competition. If we feel after the (transfer) window it is right for certain individuals who haven’t figured as much to go out on loan then we have that opportunity.
“Dani is someone who went out on loan last season but came back and I have to say looked very good in pre-season training and he has been involved from day one this summer. That is one we are assessing, but it is important for him to get games at his age. He managed that last season, albeit probably didn’t get the number of games he wanted.”
Boro boss Tony Mowbray also moved to dampen down speculation Ayala could be Riverside-bound.
“There’s no deal for any player been agreed, but we are in conversations with two or three football clubs at the moment,” Mowbray told the Northern Echo, with the Teesiders also linked to a potential move for City back-up striker Luciano Becchio. “Everyone knows we are trying to help our squad by adding some quality to it. I think it’s probably wrong for me to sit here and discuss certain individuals and players who are employed by different football clubs. There’s nothing overly encouraging. We are pursuing other players at the same time. We had three or four bids in for different players and we wait and see to which one of those come to fruition.
“I have had numerous conversations with managers about footballers and the availability of those footballers. We have to wait and see. In any negotiation it’s not one man to one man, there’s a lot of people involved. Agents, chief executives, families, numerous things that can make a deal complicated. Most deals don’t fall into your lap. You have to do a lot of groundwork normally and you have to weigh up lots of different ideas. It is hard to keep your business private but it isn’t easy to in the modern world. We’re working through our options. There’s a million agents dropping one million names to us.”
Hughton believes Russell Martin’s versatility offers the Canaries decent cover in central defence.
“I feel we have enough in that area,” he said. “We’ve got four centre-halves, if you see Russell as someone who can play equally well at centre back as he can at full-back. I think we have enough cover.
“What I need to do leading into the end of this window is make a judgement on if I want to improve the numbers and the quality within the squad. The reality is in most occasions that is not possible.”
First-choice centre-back Sebastien Bassong is in contention to make his Premier League return against Hull this weekend after a second successful development league outing following an injury-hit pre-season due to knee surgery. Anthony Pilkington (knee) and Robert Snodgrass (groin) have also re-joined training but striker Gary Hooper (shin) will not be involved at the KC Stadium. Dutch midfielder Leroy Fer is in the mix after suspension.
“Gary still hasn’t trained yet and we felt progress might have been a little quicker than it has turned out,” said Hughton. “Anthony and Seb trained this week and Robert trained for the first time on Thursday. All three come into contention for the weekend.
“Leroy also comes into the mix and it is a big boost to bring him back in. We of course knew he was suspended for the first game when we signed him so it was something we had plenty of time to get our heads around. To have him fit and available from now onwards is a plus.”