Norwich City have a major asset as Timm Klose confirms he will be at Carrow Road next season
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At lunchtime on Saturday May 7, Timm Klose strolled into a lounge at Carrow Road alongside former player turned excellent host, Adam Drury.
Klose was injured and therefore missing from the squad for the game against Manchester United, so he became an excellent subject of the regular question and answer sessions that take place in the Legends Bar.
City's fate wasn't quite sealed by the time Drury asked the big question – will you be here next season? – but at the time many were resigned to the club's fate and, therefore, of Klose going.
After a jittery start the Swiss defender came into his own, only to be cut down by a knee ligament injury against Crystal Palace on April 9, just as he was bringing some semblance of order to the back four.
Anyway, back to lunch: Klose has established himself as a bit of a cult figure with his social media postings and his all-round good bloke demeanour, and when Drury popped the question, his head twisted a little, his eyebrows rose and he said simply: 'Yes, why wouldn't I?'
It prompted applause from the room, although if truth be told, not everyone believed Klose wasn't a Brexiter.
Fast forward and today we discover Alex Neil and Klose have had a chat, the gist of which is: Neil asked for another season, Klose said 'yes, why wouldn't I?' and City have a major asset for the next 46 league games. And if the logic is that better players increase your chances of success, then an immediate return to the top-flight might be enough for the Swiss to hang on even longer.
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The result of Neil's persuasive powers will be a major boost for the club and comes just a few days after the news that Robbie Brady, that other valuable commodity in his squad, would not be hankering for a move... but if the price was right then there was a discussion to be had. Not as rock solid as confirming he will be here for the season, but not a bad compromise.
With Nathan Redmond's sale to Southampton bringing in an estimated £11m, City immediately made up a little of the financial shortfall caused by relegation. Selling Klose and Brady would bridge that cash gap further, but obviously would not help Neil's plan for an instant return to the top. So what of Brady?
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Talk is City won't listen unless someone mentions the figure £20m – a quote which has attracted the inevitable scorn.
But why should City give away one of their jewels?
Why should they not do what everyone else is doing and demand a bit of the TV cash bonanza that is (again) heading the way of Premier League clubs? And Neil knows that if he does sell for £20m, then when he buys another player, the selling club isn't going to hold back in their valuation, knowing the size of the cheque City will have banked. It's called market forces, and there is no need for City to be generous, and no need for them to expect anyone else to be either.
Neil may well have looked at Brady's performances for the Republic of Ireland at the Euros and heard the cash register ringing, but the truth is he will want to keep his best players, whatever the cost. Yes, selling Brady for £20m would perhaps give him enough money to buy two other decent players. But he still loses one of his best players – and he can only field 11 at a time.
What he has now is Martin Olsson and Brady down the left. He has Sergi Canos. He has the Murphys. He has options.
With Klose staying, he can pair him up with Ryan Bennett and perhaps reproduce a defensive pairing that was as good as it got for City last season. In the Championship, those two will stop tanks.