Why everyone has their price at City

With 19 days of the transfer window left to go, we are approaching the stage in January when I would expect most of the transfer business to occur. Premiership managers, clubs and agents alike have spent much of the last 12 days jockeying for position on the sports pages of the tabloids - but precious little business has so far been transacted.

With 19 days of the transfer window left to go, we are approaching the stage in January when I would expect most of the transfer business to occur.

Premiership managers, clubs and agents alike have spent much of the last 12 days jockeying for position on the sports pages of the tabloids - but precious little business has so far been transacted. It is the next fortnight that will really determine which of the Premiership strugglers goes into the final part of the season with a newly-invigorated squad.

With over half of the Premier League's 20 teams within touching distance of the relegation places; with the tens of millions of pounds at stake by staying in the top flight of English football - it is hardly surprising that there seems to be an unseemly scramble for those few players who could come in and make an immediate impact on the struggle for survival in the top flight.

Transfer windows have received more than their fair share of criticism over the short time that they have been in operation (they are a direct result of European Commission pressure to bring the player market more in line with standard employment practices). What is clear is that they are a very real and unhelpful distraction to clubs, players and supporters who are trying to concentrate on progressing in the league.

And with a number of papers reporting interest in Dean Ashton and Robert Green from a number of Premiership clubs, our supporters are naturally anxious to be kept informed of what's going on. And that's where things get particularly difficult.

As a club, we pride ourselves on being as open and as accessible as possible. It is one of our core principles and something that we hold extremely dear. And while we will not lie to supporters, being totally transparent about everything that goes on behind the scenes is not always in the club's best interests.

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Some clubs choose to declare publicly that a particular player is “not for sale”. We do not make any such claims - and have been criticised in some quarters as a result. But to do so would be to mislead supporters. There is not a player throughout the whole of football who is not for sale at the right price. The question is “what is the right price?” But by publicly declaring what you would sell a player for, all you are doing is making it easy for predators to buy.

I can fully understand fans' desire to be kept in touch with every development, every phone call, every bid. But to do so would materially damage Norwich City's best interests - something I am sure that no supporter would want.

We have always tried to do our business privately, out of the glare of the media spotlight. Other clubs do things differently - that is up to them.

What we can do is to set out the facts after the transfer window has ended - and this I am entirely happy that we should do. But while the window is open, and agents and managers analyse every word coming out of clubs, I would ask our supporters to be patient, to trust in the club's directors and officials to continue to act in the best interests of Norwich City Football Club.

And it is this issue, of trust, that is so vital to the relationship between supporters and their club. One of the most disappointing aspects of the last week has been the number of fans who have accused the club of lying over Dean Ashton's injury, which kept him out of the cup match against West Ham. It has been suggested that the injury, which was sustained in training two days before the game, was 'manufactured' by the club to prevent Dean Ashton from being cup-tied, thereby increasing his value in the transfer market. Such accusations are wholly wide of the mark. The unfortunate reality of the FA Cup these days is that not being cup-tied adds not a penny to a player's value.

While we cannot be as transparent as we would like throughout this transfer window, we will not lie to supporters. We have not done so and we will never do so. All of us at Carrow Road, the board, staff and coaches, are doing all we can to chart a successful course through a difficult month for this football club. And we continue to need your support, your trust, to bring us through to February in the best shape possible and continue the progress that has been made over the last nine years.

On The Ball, City!