Hat-trick of contracts could prove so valuable to City's future - on and off the pitch
Norwich City Football Club
The value of lengthy contracts for talented youngsters has been proven in recent months at Norwich City, so a trio of new deals has come as welcome news for the future.
Signing up Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons and Louis Thompson provides further welcome stability for Daniel Farke’s squad but also secures long-term value for some of the club’s hottest properties.
It’s on the pitch this season where the attentions remain for supporters, making the news of three committed, talented players with fine attitudes extending their deal more than welcome distractions from the international break.
However, sporting director Stuart Webber has to take a long-term view, as he tries to lay plans for a stronger future on and off the pitch.
Bringing in over £30million for James Maddison and Josh Murphy this summer is proof that long contracts for young players can help to keep value high when it comes to transfer negotiations – and in the aftermath of parachute payments, profits will be integral to the Canaries rebuilding their financial strength.
In an ideal world, all of City’s youngsters will play their part in firing the club back to the big time, so that fans can enjoy their talents. But if that’s not to be, at least the club is ready for when the big boys come calling.
Whether hyped up by agents, or genuine links, the interest of Premier League clubs looks to have played a role in fresh terms for full-backs Lewis and Aarons in particular.
Talksport claimed this summer that Bournemouth and Watford were leading the interest in 20-year-old Lewis and the Press Association added to the mix yesterday that no less than Arsenal and Chelsea were monitoring the rapid progress of Aarons.
That is little surprise given the success for the former Luton Town trainees in the past year.
Lewis has made 32 appearances since his December 2017 debut and has already progressed to senior international football with Northern Ireland,
Aarons’ emergence has been even speedier, with the right-back signing his first professional contract in June but already putting pen to paper on an extension until 2023 after nine appearances and becoming an England Under-19 international.
The deals follow a one-year extension for 20-year-old Ben Godfrey in July, tying the defensive prospect to City until 2022, and could well be followed by Todd Cantwell.
The Dereham-raised playmaker has started City’s last five league games and shown the technical ability which could make him a force in the years to come, but is out of contract at the end of this season, with the option of a further 12 months.
Thompson is a slightly different story, returning from almost 18 months out injured after twice rupturing the same Achilles tendon in the space of six months, tentatively coming back into the first team this season.
The 23-year-old former Swindon midfielder has made seven appearances in all competitions so far, three of them from the start and is a player that City will continue to be careful with.
Thompson made over 100 appearances for the Robins in his younger days and was really starting to show what he could do before his injury. The energetic midfielder could even have what it takes to be the long-term successor to Alex Tettey if he can maintain his renaissance.
All three deals have been widely welcomed by supporters, now it’s up to the trio to keep proving why City have such faith in them.