Norwich City could decide to cut their losses on Steven Naismith
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City have a big decision to make on Steven Naismith this summer.
Sporting director Stuart Webber is determined to trim the wage bill at Carrow Road and with Steven Naismith earning in excess of £50,000 a week, there is a big saving to be made.
Webber is considering releasing the Scotland international on a free transfer according to reports although that would also involve a significant pay-off for the player, who has two years left on his contract.
However, Webber is unlikely to make a decision on Naismith's future before the end of the season when a lot of clubs, who could be in for the 30-year-old, don't know what division they will be in next season.
But one thing is clear. If Norwich can move Naismith on this summer, they will. That's not a reflection on the player's ability as such – the deal he is on at City merely exposes that the club cannot afford to be paying Premier League salaries.
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The best case scenario for the club is that they recoup a small fee for him although it will be a fraction of the £8.5m they paid Everton for him in January 2016.
Sunderland were interested in taking the player to the Stadium of Light last summer but a deal fell through late in the window. Manager David Moyes is a known admirer of the player but with the former Manchester United boss' future in the north east far from certain there is no guarantee they will be back for him this summer.
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In a Pink Un poll, which had more than 2,000 votes, City fans were split on whether Naismith should be released or kept to lead the fightback next season. Fifty-two per cent voted to keep him with 48 per cent saying he should go demonstrating the conundrum facing Webber.
With two years remaining on his contract at Carrow Road it would cost the club in excess of £5m to keep him for the duration of that deal. Only a return to the Premier League would make that remotely sustainable and Webber would prefer to cut his cloth accordingly now and let his new scouting network provide better value for money.
It was easy to move on the seven players out of contract at the club this summer. For the players who don't fit the Webber strategy, but are under contract, it will prove a lot more difficult to shift them.