Worthy delighted with Etuhu signing
CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City have completed the signing of Dickson Etuhu - but will have to tighten their belts before manager Nigel Worthington takes another dip into the transfer market.
Norwich City have completed the signing of Dickson Etuhu - but will have to tighten their belts before manager Nigel Worthington takes another dip into the transfer market.
Etuhu's full transfer from Preston - which has cost the club a £450,000 transfer fee - has pushed Worthington's player budget to its limit.
And if he is to strengthen an already thin-looking squad during the January transfer window, money will have to be saved from elsewhere within the club.
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“It is within our powers to overspend the budget,” said chairman Roger Munby. “But if you overspend you must under-spend elsewhere or bring in more new money.”
The fear is that Worthington will be forced to let go of his best players in order to bring in new faces, although Munby said that was not the only option.
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“The money might be from sales, or from other sources,” he said, citing the share issue of two years ago which enabled City to buy Darren Huckerby and also contributed towards the purchase of Dean Ashton a year ago.
“One possible route is to allow players to go elsewhere. In terms of the star players in our squad, that would be done with extreme reluctance.”
Another share issue is unlikely, but clearly money could be raised by selling players, although Munby said allowing Ashton to leave would be done reluctantly “and for a very high fee”.
Worthington has repeatedly stated that “silly money” would need to be offered before the club consider letting their prize asset go, although there are other fringe players whose departure, either on loan or permanently, could raise cash.
The initial cost of turning Etuhu's move from a loan deal to a permanent one is expected to top the half million pound mark, with the 23-year-old signing a three-and-a-half-year deal.
“I'm delighted to have been able to get the player,” said Worthington. “He's a very useful acquisition at a very reasonable price when you consider he came very, very close to joining Everton at the start of the season for nearer £1m.”
The player himself said he pleased to make his move permanent.
“I'm very pleased this has gone through,” he said. “Now I just want to get on with playing football for Norwich City.
“I'm still getting my fitness back and getting used to the way my new team-mates play. But I'm sure it's the right move and I'm looking forward to working full-time under Nigel Worthington.”
The former Manchester City man has made six starts and two substitute appearances since arriving at Carrow Road - and has been involved in plenty of controversy. On his debut at home to Luton he was accused of spitting at Kevin Nicholls and then on Monday, against his old team, he was involved in a tackle which left former team-mate Adam Nowland with a broken leg.
And although Etuhu had a poor game, his presence is vital as Worthington surveys the damage in a midfield where cover is thin.
Carl Robinson spent Monday night in hospital after further aggravating his rib injury in the opening minutes against Preston while Youssef Safri is now away for at least a month on African Nations Cup duty with Morocco. Andy Hughes was at the game but is not expected back for several weeks after fracturing his cheekbone.
Darren Huckerby is suspended for Saturday's FA Cup third round clash at home to West Ham, although Jason Jarrett should be back after his six-week loan at Plymouth.
And while midfield numbers are low, there may be a temptation for Worthington to cash in on Jarrett, who signed from Wigan on a free in the summer but who has failed to impress at Carrow Road.
Plymouth boss Tony Pulis is keen to keep Jarrett at Home Park, although the finances may be a stumbling block.
“If the mathematics were right, we would try to do it, but Norwich are a Premiership/Championship club and their wages may be a little bit more than we can afford at Plymouth,” said Pulis. “We will try, though. We do our damnedest to get him signed up if we can. I would love to sign Jason.”