Norwich City chief admits January transfer business is a costly affair

Norwich City's joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones with chief executive D

Norwich City's joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones with chief executive David McNally. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

January will be January for Norwich City – after chief executive David McNally admitted inflated prices are par for the new year course.

With City's current winless Premier League run extended to six with Saturday's painful Anfield hammering from Liverpool, supporters have become a little restless over the Canaries' apparently lack of activity.

Those surroundings have altered somewhat since the end of last week, with a reported £5m bid for Celtic striker Gary Hooper rejected and reportedly the same bid on the table for Swansea marksman Danny Graham.

And released Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Lee Camp seems destined to be January signing number one, having undergone a medical at City on Monday.

But McNally admitted the fact of the matter is January recruitment remains an expensive business.

'There is still lots and lots of time left,' said McNally. 'Are there prices being quoted that we find a surprise? Yes, probably.

'There was an enquiry we made for an international player and the transfer fee we were quoted probably would buy the average Premier League squad.

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'So it's tricky. The best time to do your trading is between May and September when you can properly work on squad reconstruction. January is always hard and prices are certainly inflated.'

Which 'international' player is not known, but Hooper certainly fits the profile of McNally's comment – while Celtic have already acknowledged City's £5m bid fell well short of their own valuation of the player; one expected to comfortably top £10m.

By this time last year, City already had one of the January targets wrapped up and delivered at Colney. And although that has not been the case this time around, the inner workings are no different according to the Canaries chief executive.

'It has been the same actually as previous windows,' he said. 'I think back to last January, we signed Jonny Howson and Ryan Bennett, and Ryan was the last deal done of the whole of the UK transfer window. I think we got him with seconds to spare. And Jonny we signed in the first half of the month and there were different circumstances associated with each deal.

'We've had been working on the January window since September 1. Clearly there have been no new arrivals here but we have not lost anyone either.

'The plan always is to strengthen the squad in each window and you do that by ensuring you don't lose players to make the team stronger, but equally you try to add in positions that the manager has pinpointed we need to strengthen, and we are looking to do that.'