Grant puts confidence in Martin
Peter Grant says he is confident that teenage striker Chris Martin will commit his future to Norwich City. The 18-year-old has made an immediate impact since his City debut at the end of January, with five goals in a dozen games and talks are now underway between Martin's representatives, the Professional Footballers' Association, and the club over his first professional contract.
By CHRIS LAKEY
Peter Grant says he is confident that teenage striker Chris Martin will commit his future to Norwich City.
The 18-year-old has made an immediate impact since his City debut at the end of January, with five goals in a dozen games and talks are now underway between Martin's representatives, the Professional Footballers' Association, and the club over his first professional contract.
“We are still talking, and that is important,” said the City boss, who earlier this month was fending off questions linking his rising star with Premiership giants Manchester United.
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“There has been a lot going on in the last few weeks with speaking to Chris. I could have done him a disservice because I knew he would be a first team player with me and I could have offered him a contract prior to him getting into the first team. But I thought it was important that I had something to sell to the board and everyone else - why I want him on a longer term contract.
“But I didn't need to do that, they understood what I was trying to do, they understand the fact that we want the boy at the club- because we think he is an important part of the future, there is no doubt about that.
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“I think the boy will see in the cold light of day that the offer we are making him is a very, very good offer, no doubt.”
Grant admitted he was confident that Martin, still a second year Academy scholar, would sign, but said he would not be held to ransom.
“I am always confident, but I know how football works nowadays as well,” he said. “There are a lot of sharks out there and at the end of the day you either swim with them or you die with them and for us we will do everything above board, we will take it to the extent that we feel is right.
“I will never, ever be held over a barrel by anybody, because I want people who want to play at this club, I have said that since I came in. I am sure Chrissy wants to do that, he has been a massive hit and he has done tremendously well, but he is lucky if he is on the bottom rung yet.
“He knows he has a long way to go, we have seen it before with many players.
“He is a level-headed guy, he knows he has good people around him here who are going to try and make him better and that is the big thing, making him better.
“He knows there are flaws in his game, which is very, very important because if a player thinks he is there it is a slow road back. We are very, very pleased with him - with people like that it is worth all the hard work.”
Former Canaries skipper Mick McGuire, deputy chief executive of the PFA, confirmed he was representing Martin in talks with the club.
“We've had a meeting at Norwich with the manager, the chief executive and the secretary,” McGuire said. “We've had meaningful discussions and at this moment, those talks are ongoing.
“I am very hopeful that the contract negotiations will be concluded in the very near future.
“We were aware of Chris's ability before he got into the first team.
Once he had broken into the first team, I travelled down to meet him and his family to discuss the possibility of the PFA's agency being given the opportunity to look after his interests, and I'm delighted to say he decided to sign with the PFA.
“I was very impressed when I met his parents. His father is, without doubt, a very principled man and it is clear he has been a positive influence on Chris. He's a fine young man and has clearly benefited from his upbringing. His dad is keen to keep his feet on the ground, as is Peter Grant, who is astutely handling his career at this early stage.”