Back in early December, Stuart Webber predicted that Norwich City would have a “quiet January” at least, that`s what he said he was expecting.
As we now know, it was quite the opposite so why say that?
Was he surprised by all the business? Did opportunities just present themselves? Or was he playing it all down?
Probably a bit of all of that, I`d say.
Norwich brought in seven new players (eight if you include Kenny McLean) and sold/moved out seventeen(!) players.
That`s 24 comings and goings. I bet that Stuart Webber is even more glad of a rest than I am.
Here`s the list:
Ins: Simon Power (UC Dublin AFC), Marcus Edwards (Spurs, loan), Jordan Thomas (Huddersfield, free), Kenny McLean (Aberdeen, £150K), Onel Hernandez (SC Braunschweig, £1.7m), Dennis Srbeny (Paderborn, £1m), Moritz Leitner (Augsburg, loan).
Outs: Marcel Franke (Dresden, loan), Adam Phillips (Cambridge, loan), Ben Godfrey (Shrewsbury, loan), Remi Matthews (Plymouth, loan), Michele Efete (Torquay, loan), Paul Jones (Exeter, loan), Jake Hallett (Mildenhall, loan), Eboue Adams (Orient, loan), Alex Pritchard, (Huddersfield, £11m), Yanic Wildschut (Cardiff, loan), Russell Martin (Rangers, loan), Cameron Jerome (Derby, £1.5m), Steven Naismith (Hearts, loan), Kenny McLean (Aberdeen, loan), Todd Cantwell (Fortuna Sittard, loan), Harry Toffolo (Millwall, free), Joe Crowe (Linfield, free), Glenn Middleton (Rangers, undisc).
So what do we think of all that?
In terms of players going out, selling Cameron Jerome was good business. We sold him for pretty much what we paid for him and for that first season alone when he helped us win promotion, he was a decent buy.
At over 30 though and on a likely £30k a week, he needed to move on, especially coupled with a dramatic loss of goalscoring form.
Selling Alex Pritchard was a big disappointment but I guess we needed to help balance the books. Having said that, the fact that his head was turned by Huddersfield Town of all clubs, shows what he was all about and his desperation to get to the Premier League. He has swapped Championship mid-table for a Premier League relegation fight and after the Terriers defeat to Liverpool the other night, he may well be back in our league again next season.
Arranging loans for young prospects is very important in the new regime and Ben Godfrey, Remi Matthews, Adam Phillips and Todd Cantwell will all come back in the summer hoping for a role in the first team squad next season. They will probably get it.
The moving out on loan of Naismith, Martin and Wildschut was necessary to shave their large salaries off the wage bill and helped the club financially gain some manoeuvrability in the transfer market, at least in the short term. The big question is whether, certainly the first two, can be moved on permanently in the summer?
In terms of the new players we`ve brought in, I will, as ever, reserve judgement until I`ve seen them play. I have no idea what Edwards, Srbeny and Hernandez will be like with a ball at their feet and only a rough idea of what to expect from Leitner.
New players are always exciting though, at least they are until the moment they start playing and then that either continues or drops right off, based on performances. I`m keeping my fingers crossed.
The bottom line here for me is that the wage bill has been cut and the average age of the playing staff has dropped too – both good things, or they are if the replacements work out to be good enough.
Time will be the only way of knowing if this has all worked out or not but at least on paper, the business seems to have been decent enough.