Norwich City fans deliver their verdict on James Maddison’s next move
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City's player-of-the-year James Maddison did not know if had a future at Norwich this time last summer. Now he is the club's prized asset. Paddy Davitt looks at what the next few weeks could hold for both parties.
When you consider what lay ahead for James Maddison this time last summer it pays not to make any bold or brash predictions where he will start next season.
The financial backdrop to Norwich City's own attempts to refresh Daniel Farke's squad over these coming weeks for another crack at the Championship underlines why the 21-year-old's next career step is a pivotal facet.
City need to plug the multi-million pound hole left by the final parachute payment. Maddison is the most saleable asset by some distance.
More than 2,500 votes were cast on day one of our special Pinkun poll, running all week, with a range of options for the highly-rated 21-year-old midfielder's next career move, should the Canaries opt to cash in.
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Of those polled, just over half believe the likes of Leicester City or Everton would be a good fit, to give Maddison the game-time to continue his stellar development at a club with top 10 Premier League aspirations.
But any potential transfer deal these days is subject to a blurring number of moving parts. What the selling club want, what a potential bidder is prepared to pay and in the middle the player and his coterie of advisors or close family.
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Multiply that exponentially when it comes to the fee that would surely accompany the departure of one of English football's genuinely brightest talents.
Maddison's name was a regular staple in the transfer gossip columns during the January window, when it felt every top flight club from champions Manchester City downwards seemed to be touted with City's player-of-the-year.
Should the planets align and Norwich's club record valuation for their England Under-21 international be met, it will be Maddison who has the final say.
Quite apart from the goals and the assists that arrived in plentiful quantities during a breakthrough season at Carrow Road, what set this young man apart was his impressive maturity.
Maddison appeared to relish the growing spotlight and responsibility on his shoulders to become Norwich's creator-in-chief.
It is only looking back now you can fully appreciate the scale of his development in the past 12 months,
Maddison caught the eye on loan at Aberdeen in the first part of last season but was still a completely unknown commodity to incoming head coach Farke.
A favourable impression made in those pre-season training sessions and a hunch followed by the German that could well pay off handsomely, not only in football but financial terms, once Maddison is fully recovered from the knee ligament injury suffered at Sheffield Wednesday.
'To play 50 matches for club and country I have learnt so much and grown as a person and a player,' he said, reflecting on his accelerated progress in April.
'Any footballer would tell you there are times in your career when you are sat in the stand and not even making the 18.
'You question why am I even doing this, because I love football and love playing it.
'To watch, especially when the team is losing, like we were mid to back-end of that season and falling away you just want that chance.
'I think I only missed two games. At the start of the season if you had said that I wouldn't have believed you.'
He was right about that.