Norwich are resigned to losing Manchester United and Barcelona-linked defender Max Aarons, with the club's joint majority shareholder Delia Smith admitting "he is going to be one of the top footballers".
Aarons has emerged as one of the brightest young talents in English football since graduating to the Norwich senior squad back in 2018.
The 21-year-old is attracting attention from a number of top clubs after another stellar year at Carrow Road, with Old Trafford and Camp Nou being touted as possible next destinations, and Smith accepts that he will move onto a bigger challenge in the near future.
What was said?
"Luckily, because of this wonderful team behind the scenes, we have some really lovely players," the Norwich co-owner said at the Financial Times Business of Football summit.
"They've got a nice temperament and Max Aarons is one of the best. He is going to be one of the top footballers and it won't be at Norwich.
"He knows that, we know that. But we didn't have any problem with Max or his parents on this particular occasion and this particular deal.
"Obviously, we will lose him, but that is part of our plan."
Aarons' stance on his future
Aarons spoke out to address speculation over his future amid reported interest from Bayern Munich last summer, having been a standout figure for Norwich during their 2019-20 Premier League campaign - which ultimately ended in relegation.
“It’s kind of natural that, as a 20-year-old playing in the Premier League, there will be things out there in the press," said the 21-year-old. "I just leave that to the people off the pitch, like Stuart [Webber, Norwich sporting director] or the club to deal with.
“Anything else that happens or takes place, it’s not really in my hands. I’ve got four years left on my contract here, so I’ll be coming back ready to go, ready to attack next year.”
The bigger picture
Goal revealed in December that United had identified Aarons as a potential transfer target, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eager to bring in extra cover for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back.
The England U21 international would give the Red Devils a valuable extra option in defence, and it has been reported that Norwich will sanction his departure if their £35 million ($49m) asking price is met.
United are being tipped to step up their interest in the summer, but Barca are also expected to make a move for the Canaries starlet, who has been ever-present for the Championship outfit in 2020-21.
Aarons can increase his chances of a high profile transfer if he continues to perform for Norwich between now and the end of the campaign, with his next outing likely to come against Rotherham at the weekend.