Norwich City writer Paddy Davitt on why John Ruddy and Chelsea seem far from a natural fit
- Credit: PA
Some transfer rumours appear a natural fit. Others do not. John Ruddy to Chelsea was most definitely in the latter category.
Not because Norwich City's number one lacks the sufficient quality to feature for the Blues. Anyone who has watched him over the past few seasons hold a City backline together almost single-handedly at times knows what a top drawer operator he is.
Nor because every player in Chris Hughton's squad, much like every player in the land, has a value at which it makes sound fiscal sense to cash in.
Simply because should in some hypothetical, parallel world Norwich's top brass willingly accept a rather below market value £5m for one of England's best keepers the only redeeming feature on the face of it for the player would be an inevitable uplift to his bank balance.
If Ruddy was the wrong side of 30 and in need of one final financial windfall then such a lucrative option may hold greater appeal. But Ruddy is 26 and rounding into his prime. The St Ives man is the undoubted number one at a progressive Premier League club which has helped offer him a stage to showcase his abilities on the international scene.
To swap that for the uncertainty of a squad role at Chelsea simply does not add up. Petr Cech is still a serious frontline option at Stamford Bridge. Thibaut Courtois is earning a reputation at Atlelico Madrid as one of the best of the emerging breed of young keepers. Ruddy would in all probability find himself squeezed between the old and the new forces under Jose Mourinho.
This season of all seasons, Norwich's number one needs regular exposure in the Premier League to press his claims for a World Cup berth - on the precarious basis Roy Hodgson's Three Lions do not falter over the closing matches of a tricky qualifying campaign.
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Ruddy's five-month injury absence last season opened the door for Reading's Alex McCarthy to earn a promotion to the senior set-up for friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil. Jack Butland would rightly expect to be considered if he makes the Premier League breakthrough at Stoke. Ben Foster's decision to cut short his international retirement, allied to the presence of Joe Hart and Fraser Forster, injects a competitive seam into England's goalkeeping department.
Ruddy will know that only too well. Which is why Chelsea's public courting - from a self-interest perspective – is unlikely to carry huge appeal once you peer past the eye-catching headlines.
Ruddy kicked his heels at Everton for the thick end of five years; farmed out on a never-ending succession of loan moves that he admitted dimmed his appetite for the game.
Having experienced such a nomadic existence once already in his career, and given the deep resources that set the biggest hitters apart from the rest, the inherent danger of a repeat is obvious.
Logic tells you Chelsea and Ruddy at this juncture is not a natural fit. Jed Steer's defection to Aston Villa in all probability necessitates a foray into the market. Chris Hughton struck the right tone earlier this week. Ruddy remains a key part of his plans and the future of Norwich City. Chelsea may be better advised looking elsewhere.