The talk this week is that a new striker is on the way, indeed Radio Norfolk`s Nick Conrad set a “ITK” (only joking, Nick) deadline of within 48hrs, which runs out today.
The lack of any real speculation of the type that always accompanies an imminent arrival, makes me thing that Nick`s bold prophecy is unlikely to be true, at least today anyway.
Do we really need a new striker or not? I`m firmly in the camp that thinks you can never have too much firepower and I always welcome a new striker to Norwich City, as long as that man is better than we already have. He will have to be better than Gary Hooper for example, who seems to have started as third choice behind Grabban and Jerome, or there`s no point.
Grabban started against Palace on Saturday as I expected he might do. Jerome hasn`t had much pre-season and didn`t figure on the Germany/Austria tour at all, due to a foot injury. When fully fit, it will be a tough choice between the two for Alex Neil to make. Most fans I know seem to prefer Jerome ahead of Grabban and his physicality and the sheer number of goals he scored last season make that point.
Whoever we get in seems likely to be in the mould of Jerome or Grabban – a big, physical player to hold up the ball and with the athletic ability to run all day. We have been linked with Dwight Gayle (5`9″ may be too short) but it seems that Palace may be unwilling to sell him to a rival in the same league, hence there was a rather surprising link to Fulham last week for the former Posh man.
We`re also linked to Glenn Murray but as he started on Saturday, it seems unlikely he would be suddenly sold. At almost 32, he is of an age where he has more value to Palace than they could make for him on the open market. Bournemouth reportedly bid £3.5m for him last week but this being knocked back proves the point. How much more would you want to pay for a player of that age?
To be fair, he played well on Saturday and I wouldn`t be disappointed if we signed him, I just think it unlikely unless we paid well over the odds – not something we`re known for.
The big name striker that is still available is of course, Charlie Austin of QPR. Austin is available for £15m or £13m if all the fee is paid up front, which is incredibly rare in the football world. That fee would virtually double our previous transfer record but that wouldn`t necessarily be the problem. Paying Charlie`s wages would be the issue with a player moving to a new club in his position, having acquired the reputation he has, most likely wanting in excess of £60-£80k a week.
If a bigger club, say a Spurs or an Everton came in for him then we`d have no chance in any case and the wage then would probably be even higher. It`s also worth remembering that Austin failed a medical at Hull before then passing one a few weeks later at QPR prior to the move to Loftus Road, suggesting he may have an underlying medical issue meaning there is more of a risk to any buying club. That one is also in the folder marked “Highly Unlikely.”
So who else is left in the British market? In terms of players with top flight experience that might be available, there aren`t too many to be honest that have a suitable scoring record and aren`t still wanted by their parent clubs.
There is one man that would seem to fit the bill, albeit without having top flight experience and that is Jordan Rhodes. Rhodes has a terrific scoring record and is ripe for a move from Blackburn.
Rovers have widely suggested that it will take a fee of around £12m to buy their star man but it will have to be a fee rather than any part exchanges, as the Lancashire club are currently under a transfer embargo that prohibits recruitment in such a way.
Sunderland are linked with Rhodes, with Middlesbrough holding a long standing interest too but reports suggest the player would prefer a Premier League move. His wages wouldn`t be as big as Charlie Austin`s as he is “unproven” at the top level but make no mistake, he`d score goals in the Premier League if given the chance. At 25 years old and 6`1″ tall he is the right age and has the physicality Alex Neil seems to be looking for – he would also be hungry to be given the chance and is British based.
As ever, money would seem to be the stumbling block but there are gambles and there are gambles, as in any transfer. A move for Rhodes wouldn`t seem to me, other than the fee, to be too much of a risk.
Anyone else got any suggestions?