The absence of Nelson Oliveira from the squad sheet for Tuesday night`s Carabao Cup win over Swindon was a big talking point as me and my mate Lee sat down for a pre-match cuppa in the Cathedral Lounge. By the way, as we sat there, Steven Naismith and Alex Pritchard walked through the lounge with Matt Jarvis, who was on crutches (naturally).
After Saturday`s assertion from Daniel Farke that he had no problem with Oliveira`s shirt off celebration after scoring against Fulham, well, it seems that he actually does.
The reasons for Oliveira`s absence weren`t clear before kick off and they still aren`t, with Farke declining to talk about it when asked by Chris Goreham after the game.
Of course, we have literally no idea what has gone on behind the scenes and we don`t know what either the player or his Head Coach have said to each other.
Fiery he might be and there are plenty in the Canary nation who think that what Nelson did was wrong but ultimately, only Daniel Farke`s and Stuart Webber`s opinions matters in all this. There was plenty of rumour about the situation on Twitter last week, with it being suggested that Farke had actually sanctioned the sale of Oliveira to Reading before changing his mind. I`m not going to get into who said that but it wasn`t “just a fan.” You can look it up yourself if you want.
Anyway, if true, perhaps Nelson knows this and you would think he would most certainly have an opinion on it if he does.
The situation needs to be sorted quickly, with Oliveira having had a fine pre-season, scoring 5 times in 6 games, he`s certainly in form, which is more than can be said of Cameron Jerome who toiled fruitlessly against Fulham on Saturday. I like Jerome`s effort, his pace and work ethic, something that most of his previous gaffers have also appreciated but he is not a natural finisher.
If this can`t be sorted out and Oliveira has to leave and let`s be clear, the player cannot and will not dictate to the Head Coach at Norwich City, then we will have a problem with just three weeks of the transfer window left. The only player in world football that can dictate to their Head Coach is probably only Lionel Messi. When Messi and Luis Enrique fell out mid-way through Enrique`s first season in charge at the Camp Nou, it was Enrique who was on the verge of getting the chop, such is Messi`s power at Barcelona. Happily it was all cleared up and both men went on to have a big hand in recent successes for the Catalan giants.
Make no mistake though, beloved as Nelson may be by a large section of the Canary fan base, he is not close to being Lionel Messi or having his influence on his club.
I`m hoping that the fallout can be put behind them and we can move on because even if sold, we would struggle to replace Oliveira, like for like. Having watched the win over Swindon, it seems to me that the midfield will have to score an awful lot of goals if Nelson ends up getting sold – they`ll need to start shooting more for a start.I would expect any replacement striker to come from abroad, most likely from Germany and even without this recent trouble, I think we could do with some back up for the current strike force.
Tuesday was Nelson Oliveira`s birthday and while it looks like he was being punished, there is another lighter angle that Lee suggested.
Perhaps, everything is fine but due to the media attention, the club have decided they needed to make some sort of statement and leave him out of the squad as a show of strength. That then leaves Nelson to go out and have a nice birthday meal with his missus.
I like the idea but pointed out to Lee that my boss doesn`t know when my birthday is, so why would Webber and Farke have any knowledge of Nelson`s birthday?
“Okay, he`s probably being punished” was the response I got.
Sunday will be the acid test, I guess. If he makes the squad or even better, starts the game then we`ll know things are on the mend – if not, then we really could have a problem on our hands.