Norwich City go close to getting Bennett for ‘near-�1m’
Paul Lambert admitted the decision to allow Michael Nelson to leave for Scunthorpe on transfer deadline had been a tough one to make.
On a day when City were trying in vain to lure Brighton winger Elliott Bennett for a sum reportedly approaching �1m, Nelson was a surprise departure from Carrow Road.
'That was a hard one,' said the City boss. 'It really was tough. If the truth be known, if I was to let him out on loan he was going nowhere. Scunthorpe made a bid, I told Michael because I think he is a brilliant lad with a heart of gold. Somebody of 30 years of age and having a young family, he needed security which I couldn't give him.
'So I am delighted for him. I didn't want Michael Nelson to get to the end of the season and for me to turn around and tell him, 'thanks very much'. Then he is one of 800 people looking for a club. I owed it to him to try and help him on a personal note.'
Lambert remained philosophical at the failed attempt to sign Bennett on a day when the transfer market went into overdrive.
But while Chelsea and Liverpool paid out massive sums, Lambert insisted the market was inflated further down the footballing ladder.
'We kept on going but it just wasn't to be and I wasn't just going to get somebody when some of the names were totally unrealistic – some people want unbelievable amounts of money. The game has gone mad. Even ours – I know there's Fernando Torres and people like that, but even at our level some of the things I am hearing beggar belief.'
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Brighton boss Gus Poyet claimed they had rejected three bids from City.
'There were three (bids),' he said. 'It was very, very difficult because it was quite a good offer, I would say a very good offer.'
Poyet said City were close to the seven-figure mark with their final bid.
'They were getting close but it wasn't about how much, it was the way they did it, the way they pushed him,' he said.
'They really showed an interest which made it very, very difficult, so credit to the chairman.
'It's an absolute relief, great news for me as the manager. Sometimes we need to be selfish but I was never in a situation where I was the one stopping him or letting him go.
'I understand the situation because I was a player and I try to treat them the way I wanted to be treated as a player.
'I was worried about losing him after the second offer. It was a very tough decision, a difficult one for the club and the whole future of Brighton, so you have to give credit to the chairman.'
City allowed Owain Tudur Jones' one-month loan at Brentford to be extended to the end of the season, while unsettled left-back Steve Smith joined Aberdeen until the summer.
'I was desperate to get back to Scotland to play football,' said Smith.
'I'm just glad someone gave me the opportunity and I will hopefully repay them.
'I played a few games, but there were other reasons for not wanting to be there, to be honest.'