With so little Norwich City news due to the international break, the impending loss of Alex Matos to Chelsea has probably received considerably more coverage that it otherwise would have, but it is certainly something that should be of concern to anyone who cares about the club.

The details of the matter have already been covered in an excellent piece by Connor Southwell, so I won’t go over them again, but rather focus on their implications.

Matos has been widely hailed as a huge talent and has apparently been courted by Chelsea for some time, but the loss of one of the Academy’s star pupils is another body blow to City’s self-funding model.

Eastern Daily Press: Alex MatosAlex Matos (Image: Norwich City FC)

The irony is that Matos would almost certainly see first team football earlier if he stayed at City, for whom he has already signed a professional contract, but if the big clubs are going to simply cherry pick the best Academy products before they make it to the first team it doesn’t augur well for City’s future production line.

That could create a potentially deadly double whammy if we also consider the warning from finance director Anthony Richens in the club’s own Insight video back in October when he talked of a failure to achieve promotion resulting in a need for player trading, the extent of which would be dictated by the level of cash deficit.

The self-funding model is dependent upon a very high recruitment success rate, but also the ability to supplement players bought with those who have come through the club’s internal development system.

In Daniel Farke’s first promotion season, the club benefited hugely from the growing maturity of Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis, as well as the emergence of Todd Cantwell, in addition to which the sales of Josh Murphy and Remi Matthews helped the transfer kitty.

Since then, Godfrey, Lewis and Cantwell have moved on (generating significant income in the first two cases) but, despite the emergence of Andrew Omobamidele, the youth production line has so far been unable to reproduce quality in such abundance.

That’s understandable as there will always be peaks and troughs in terms of the quality of players coming through, with youth development being unpredictable at the best of times, but if the better ones are going to be picked off then it’s a real worry.

With the rich getting richer in football, and another major club potentially about to become the plaything of a Gulf state, I fear that clubs like City could see more and more talent being stripped away before becoming a significant transfer fee generator, with everything that implies for their financial health.

At least we get league football back today as City continue to search for the upturn in form that could see them make the play-offs, as they face off against one of the two outstanding teams in the Championship.

There really is no hiding place now if an increasingly unlikely surge into the top six is to be achieved, but the one thing in which City have been consistent all season is the ability to disappoint just when it really mattered.

With games against Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Blackburn upcoming, they simply must show an ability to beat the division’s best sides that has been absent so far, because if they don’t their season will simply fizzle out ignominiously.

That would put huge pressure on the club’s finances, but would also be a massive disappointment for the fans who have stuck faithfully with this misfiring team for so long.

However, whatever happens on the pitch I know that we can rely on those fans to show their usual great support to today’s third Foodbank collection organised by the Canaries Trust in partnership with the club, Norwich Foodbank and the City Elite fan group with collection points near the club shop and another near the entrance to Top of the Terrace.