Norwich sporting director Stuart Webber admits they have to do “perfect work” in the summer transfer window to get ready for life back in the Premier League – but will not be afraid of cashing in on a star man if it means more fresh talent can be recruited.
The Canaries secured a swift return to the top flight by winning the Sky Bet Championship for the second time in three years, finishing six points ahead of Watford.
The likes of playmaker Emi Buendia, full-back Max Aarons and midfielder Todd Cantwell were all integral to that success.
Despite being on long-term contracts, speculation has already started on just which of Norwich’s ‘Crown Jewels’ are likely to be tempted away.
The Norfolk club, though, have no need to sell, with finances now on a much more sound footing after clearing some debts and having made significant infrastructure investments.
“The pressure this time is whether we can build a squad which helps us do better in the Premier League next season,” Webber said. “But, to be honest, we need to do perfect work for us to be able to achieve that – and it is not easy.
“We could make decisions in this window which means we stay up next season, but which kills the club the year after.
“We have seen enough teams in recent history who have a brilliant year one (in the Premier League), spend an absolute fortune, but then they don’t (stay up).
“We can’t do that because of our ownership model. We don’t have a benefactor, so any mistakes we make, we have to repair.
“But as we go into it, we are already in a much better place than we were the last time we were promoted.”
Webber, however, accepts Norwich will always have to consider any serious interest in their key men, provided it serves the long-term project.
“We are open if someone offers an outstanding amount of money for a player – just because we are in the Premier League now does not mean that we won’t sell them. It is something which our model is very much built on,” Webber said.
“We bring players in, either from the academy or from the outside, we give them an opportunity, we develop them, and at times some players outgrow the football club.
“Now, that will still happen in the Premier League. We want players moving to Champions League football because it builds a story for what we do.
“It could be that we do sell a player this summer that gives us great opportunities in the market – if we can sell one player, for example, and bring in three or four.
“That doesn’t scare us, but, ultimately, as well as we go into the Premier League season, people have got to want to be here.
“If there is any player who knocks on the door and doesn’t want to be here, it is like: ‘well, find the club to spend the money and you can go.’ That is a fact, because no one is bigger than the club.
“If we do sell one, it is going to be a club-record deal, it is probably going to start with the number three in front of it and that will give us great opportunities to make the whole (squad) better as well, so we are really relaxed on that front.”
Although unable to keep Norwich up last time, head coach Daniel Farke has seen his stock rise again on the back of another successful promotion campaign.
Following initial talks, Webber is confident the German will further extend his current deal, which runs until the summer of 2022.
“We would like him to stay, of course,” Webber said. “He would like to stay. He believes in the club and what we are trying to do. I think we will get to some sort of agreement over the summer.”
Norwich have confirmed the signing of 17-year-old striker Kenny Coker from Southend for an undisclosed fee following a successful trial period. Coker will initially form part of the club’s development and academy set-up.