It didn’t surprise me to see Norwich City fail with their bid to sign Robert Snodgrass on Monday.
Leeds United’s stance is very clear. Robert’s one of our top players and we really don’t want him to leave. That’s why he’s been offered the chance to become our highest earner.
All the same, I don’t doubt that Neil Warnock is anxious about all this. He’s been more vocal than anyone in singing Robert’s praises and he’s clearly fighting tooth-and-nail to keep him. The last thing he needs with the new season so close is to lose his club captain.
We won’t be the only team facing this problem. Other Championship managers will be looking at their leading players and wondering what might happen in the next month-and-a-half.
If Norwich are interested in Robert then I’d assume that other Premier League sides are too. And, to be fair, why wouldn’t they be? He’s a big talent with huge potential.
But when all’s said and done he’s a talent who we’ve nurtured for the last four years and I’d be desperately sad to see him go.
I’m crossing my fingers that it won’t happen and it would be nice to be able to say for certain that he’s going to be here next season. The reassuring thing is that we’ve seen a united front from Neil and the board in the battle to tie him down.
Yet to some extent this situation is probably going to depend on Robert himself. Neil spoke earlier this week about him “having his head turned” and I know what he means. The Premier League is the place to be and any player who gets wind of an opportunity at that level is bound to be tempted by it.
I know from speaking to Robert that he’s a loyal lad who’s loved his time at Leeds. Coming south has changed his career and his life, both in a good way.
I’ve no doubt at all that he’d be proud to captain Leeds to promotion from the Championship, but I also know that he’s got international aims and a desire to play at the highest level.
I see in him a lot of the ambition that my generation all had when we were young players making names for ourselves at Elland Road.
First and foremost he’s under contract, so the decision over whether to keep him is the club’s to make.
At the same time it’s much easier to keep him on board if he genuinely wants to be here next season and that’s a decision I think Robert needs to make. He needs to be clear in his own mind about where he sees his future.
If Leeds choose to reject bids and fend off interest until the end of August, I’m certain we’d still get 100 per cent from him.
There were times when I felt speculation about transfers affected Jermaine Beckford and his form suffered because of it. I don’t see the same happening with Robert.
Deep down I’m still hoping he’ll be the catalyst for us in the months ahead.