Wantaway Wes Hoolahan’s new adviser was never close to engineering a January exit from Norwich City for the Irish midfielder

Wes Hoolahan is still a Norwich City player, despite his January transfer request. Picture by Paul C

Wes Hoolahan is still a Norwich City player, despite his January transfer request. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Wes Hoolahan's publicity campaign was never going to engineer a January transfer window move away from Norwich City.

David McNally revealed there was 'less than 1pc chance' of the Irishman leaving despite a saga triggered by Aston Villa's initial enquiry and a rejected transfer request from the club's longest-serving player all played out in the media spotlight.

The Canaries' chief executive admitted yesterday none of the three criteria set by the club was met.

'Things happen in football, we all know that, and players have their heads turned. That was my reading of that particular situation,' he said. 'We made it clear to Wes that he was in our plans for this year and the future. Ironically he had played in three of the previous four games. That said, in football you can be given an offer you cannot refuse and if that is the case then you don't refuse it. That would have been the second element of the matter we would have had to consider and the final element would have been trying to get a replacement because he is a unique footballer in that number 10 position and they are difficult to find. They were huge hurdles to overcome and I always felt there was less than 1pc chance of him leaving.'

McNally understood Hoolahan's frustrations at his relative lack of first team action this season.

'Of course, because a footballer has a relatively short career, he was entitled to make a request, just as we were entitled to reject it,' he said. 'I have no issues whatsoever with Wes. I understand his position. I believe he understands Norwich's position as well.

'I think there was a change in adviser and that is Wes's prerogative but, as we both know, in football agents normally only earn money if a transaction takes place and you get your player to leave. That is not a complaint, just the reality of the game, so I don't think either Wes or the football club were helped by the new adviser and his PR tactics. It did unsettle Wes but his response since has been terrific.'

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City also engaged with Villa's hierarchy directly over their pursuit of the player.

'We felt there were some things said in the media that were unnecessary, but we would have done the deal if we were happy. It is business; it is not personal,' said McNally. 'If we had decided we were comfortable in selling Wes then we would have sold him to the highest bidder. We have no issues in dealing with Aston Villa. We have dealt with that with them directly and we move on now.'

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