Stuart Webber has admitted that he “really didn’t want” Ben Godfrey to leave Norwich City for Everton in the summer.
Godfrey – who moved to Norwich from York City in 2016 – was a key player for Daniel Farke’s side in the last couple of years.
The 23-year-old made 31 appearances for Norwich as they won promotion from the Championship in 2018/19, and featured in 30 Premier League matches last term.
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Godfrey caught the eye, with the versatile defender joining Everton in a deal worth around £25million in the summer.
Godfrey has since become an important player for Carlo Ancelotti’s team, racking up 20 appearances in all competitions for the Toffees this season.
Reflecting on Godfrey’s Carrow Road departure, though, Norwich’s sporting director Stuart Webber has told the Athletic that he “really didn’t want” the 23-year-old to leave the club in the summer.
He said: “I sat with Ben and I really didn’t want him to go last summer, nor did Daniel Farke, obviously, but it was Everton.
“It was one of the best managers in the world. It’s a club trying to get back to where they were as a big club at the top end of English football.
“You get to the point of thinking, ‘How can we actually stop this lad?’ If we had, it’s not only the effect on Ben and those around him, it’s the effect on the rest of the dressing room who go, ‘Wow, they turned down X for you to go there? That means they’ll probably do that to me.’ It can cause ill-feeling.”
Norwich will be hoping to win promotion back to the Premier League this season, as they look to keep hold of fellow youngsters Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia.
Godfrey was a class act last season and it wasn’t a surprise to see a bigger club spend big money on him in the summer.
He has everything you want in a defender. He’s strong and he can tackle, but his passing range is also excellent and he can slot into midfield if needs be.
Norwich have an excellent model, but when it does come to selling players, it’s always a blow to see them leave regardless of the fee.