Iwan Roberts - No winners in Norwich City stand off with Grant Holt
Norwich City stalwart Iwan Roberts has warned there will be no winners in the Grant Holt contract impasse.
Talks between the club and Holt's adviser have so far failed to resolve a damaging situation that has been played out in public since the captain's surprise transfer request at the end of last season. The Canaries' hierarchy reiterated last week they want Holt to stay, but the triple player-of-the-year continues to be touted for a summer move with no agreement imminent on an improved Carrow Road deal.
Roberts believes new City boss Chris Hughton faces a difficult task to try and thrash out a solution that ensures the 31-year-old can spearhead Norwich's Premier League charge again next season.
'It is a lose, lose for everybody,' said Roberts. 'I felt the whole thing could have been handled better by the club and Holty's agent, to be fair. You don't want to wash your dirty linen in public; especially Norwich, that is not a club where they do that. Players rarely ask for a transfer here. They either get sold on or their contracts run out. I think the only man who will be able to retrieve it is Chris Hughton. It is just a shame that it has come to this because he wants to finish his career here.
'I've met him a couple of times. He is an honest lad, a down-to-earth lad and he is no big time Charlie. He only just moved his family down and bought a house last year so that shows how committed he has been to the football club.
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'Hopefully, Chris wants to keep him because you don't want to lose your best players and he is someone who is guaranteed to score you 10 or 15 goals in the Premier League. He is a vital part of the team.'
Roberts has spoken at length with Holt's advisor, Lee Payne, and the Welshman believes a parting of the ways would have consequences for both club and player.
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'I think getting that third year on his contract is important to him – which I can totally understand,' said Roberts. 'It isn't like he is asking for �25,000, �30,000 a week. I know a lot of players in the Championship that are earning far more than Holty is.
'He came into the game quite late and he is in his prime now, whereas some reach their prime when they are perhaps 29 or 30. People doubted him in the Championship and the Premier League and he proved them wrong.
'He would be the first to admit he wants to finish off his career here. He is loved, he is adored, he is scoring goals and he is earning decent money.
'Grant might well get a move to another club, probably for a bit more money, but what price do you pay for enjoying your football somewhere, for enjoying where you live? It happened to me when Nottingham Forest came in for me in my third season. They hadn't agreed a fee with the club and I didn't want to go.
'I might have got an extra �1,000 or �2,000 a week at the time, but the grass is not always greener.'
Roberts has also backed Norwich chief executive David McNally's recent assertion that to try and replace Holt would cost big money.
'The club will know players like him are hard to find,' he said. 'You might not get someone to score 15 goals in the Premier League and strikers always cost the most. Grant has built up a great relationship with the supporters and for this to happen now is a crying shame. This is a lad who has won three player-of-the-years – and that doesn't happen very often in football.
'He is playing for a fantastic club, with outstanding facilities, and a club where he should have got an England cap last season. He could go somewhere else and maybe get �5,000 a week more, but there is also that danger it doesn't work out for him.'
Roberts insists it is vital the stand off is resolved before the start of the pending Premier League campaign.
'I believe Grant and his agent have tried to get a new contract sorted since last March, but for whatever reason the two parties have been unable to thrash out a deal,' he said.
'I know one or two things have been said as well that have hurt him massively and hand on heart, I think it will be very, very difficult now for Grant and the club to come to an agreement.
'I know there are two sides to each story and you hope the club and the player can still sit down around the table, especially with the new manager, and agree a fresh deal because I don't think this is about a financial disagreement. Holty isn't asking for the world.'