Host of 'leading clubs' monitoring City chief's situation - report

Stuart Webber, Sporting Director of Norwich City, speaking at the official opening of the Lotus Trai

Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber, speaking at the official opening of the Lotus Training Centre earlier this week - Credit: Danielle Booden

The uncertainty surrounding the future of Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber is being monitored closely by 'leading clubs' according to a national newspaper report.

That's according to the Daily Mail, with their sports agenda editor Mike Keegan claiming Webber is attracting interest from 'a host of leading clubs' and that the Welshman plans to make a decision on his future towards the end of the season.

City supporters have known the situation was bubbling under the surface since the 37-year-old signed a three-year contract in September 2019 and said it was likely he would move on to a new challenge in 2022.

The former Liverpool head of academy recruitment has ambitions to work at the top level and to potentially take his skills overseas, and also has plenty of interests outside of football, such as a keen interest in Formula One.

Much has happened since that announcement though, both a Premier League relegation and a Championship title triumph, as well as Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic which have had such major impacts in the UK.

So after a return to the top flight was sealed last season, Webber revealed that he was open to potentially staying beyond the summer of 2022, if City wanted him to.

Head coach Daniel Farke signed a new four-year contract in July and Webber was asked for the latest on his situation at a Carrow Road press conference.

“I said at the end of last season I am very grateful to work here. It is a special club,” he said.

“No conversations have been had and I am not expecting to have any between now and the end of the (summer) window certainly. My position is not important.

"It doesn’t affect the rhythm of what happens day-to-day. If it did, that would be different. It is probably more a conversation point outside the club.” 

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After making his name progressing through the ranks at Wrexham, Webber was at Liverpool between 2009 and 2012 before going on to senior scouting roles at QPR and Wolves.

He moved to Huddersfield as head of football operations in 2015 and brought David Wagner in as head coach from Borussia Dortmund II, leaving for Norwich a couple of months before the Terriers earned promotion via the Championship play-offs.

His success with the Canaries is well documented, bringing previous reports of interest from Manchester United and Southampton when City were in the Championship.

A reminder of that success was provided on Thursday when Webber was alongside majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones to officially open the club's revamped Lotus Training Centre.

Stuart Webber, Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones and Matt Windle at the official opening of the Lotus

Pictured, from left, are Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber and majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, and Lotus Cars managing director Matt Windle at the official opening of the Lotus Training Centre - Credit: Danielle Booden

The facilities have been vastly improved in recent years after the new structure put in place following the dismissal of Alex Neil as manager in 2017, putting an emphasis on the need for long-term planning as a self-funded club.

Working closely with Farke, the Canaries have developed young talents to sell for big money in recent years, including James Maddison, Emi Buendia and Ben Godfrey.

Despite Covid-19 creating a loss of around £35million in expected income, bouncing straight back to the Premier League allowed City to spend around £50m in the summer transfer window, in conjunction with the sale of Buendia to Villa for an initial £33m.

The signings of internationals including Christos Tzolis, Milot Rashica and Josh Sargent, as well as Mathias Normann and Ozan Kabak on loan with a view to a permanent deal, earned Webber plenty of praise.

It's proved a disappointing start to the season though - thanks to a tough fixture list and a Covid-19 outbreak during pre-season - losing the first six games and picking up a first point with a hard-fought goalless draw at Burnley last weekend.

So while Webber's future is of concern for Canaries supporters, the need for Premier League points is far more pressing than inevitable interest in the sporting director's potential availability.

Long-serving City stalwart Neil Adams has recently been promoted to assistant sporting director to help lighten the load for Webber but it's understood that assumptions of a preordained successor being put in place would be premature.

NCFC EXTRA: Inside Norwich City's rejuvenated Colney training ground

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