‘Health farm’ Norwich City for Aberdeen target Smith
Defender Steven Smith may start next season with Norwich City rather than join Aberdeen – thanks to a pay rise sparked by the Canaries' promotion to the Premier League.
Smith spent the second half of last season on loan to the Dons and manager Craig Brown is keen to take him back to Pittodrie.
But former Scotland boss Brown fears his hopes of signing the 25-year-old left-back have been dashed by City's new top-flight status.
'Smith has received a big rise in wages following Norwich's promotion from the Championship and he is obviously not going to leave without an inducement from Norwich,' said Brown.
'His club is determined not to do that which means they will freeze the guy out for a year and hope to sicken him into leaving to play football again – but they won't succeed given the money Smith is now earning.'
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Brown told the Press and Journal: 'The training ground at the club has effectively become a health farm. He will turn up each morning, do some training, have a nice shower, eat his lunch there and go home with his nice wage packet every week.'
The Bellshill-born Smith signed a two-year deal with the Canaries when he moved from Glasgow Rangers on a free transfer last June, the third of manager Paul Lambert's seven summer recruits.
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He suffered an Achilles injury during the pre-season trip to Germany and did not appear in the first team until he came on as a substitute in the 4-3 Championship victory at home to Leicester on September 28. He made his first start four days later in the 3-0 win at Bristol City after Adam Drury suffered an injury in the pre-match warm-up.
But Smith sustained a hip injury in the 2-2 draw at home to Burnley on November 6, the last of his seven first team appearances.
In January, he joined Aberdeen on loan with Lambert saying the full-back had found it hard to settle in Norfolk.
Smith made 20 first team appearances for the Scottish Premier League club, who reached the Scottish Cup semi-finals, and Brown admitted he would like to retain his services.
Earlier this week, Lambert said talks with Aberdeen over a possible move for Smith were 'ongoing'.
He said: 'Steven's agent and David (McNally) are talking on that. I've had a brief chat with Craig Brown.
'If something can be done there I'm pretty sure Steven would look at it.
'Ideally he'd like to go permanently but it all depends on what Aberdeen want to do.'