Happy new year, folks!
The first half of 2019 was sensational as our beloved Canaries won the Championship title, with the latter months of the year having been slightly tougher in the Premier League.
January 1st means that the winter transfer window is now open and with it could rest our hopes of staying in the top flight. In recent weeks, City have been competitive but they have lost all the crucial matches against those around them as well as games in which we have been leading.
I wouldn’t expect (and I’m sure you don’t) too much in the way of big money spending this month but the arrival of a few new faces wouldn’t do us any harm at all.
The last time we were in this league, we spent big on Timm Klose and Steven Naismith and while Klose is still with the club and has had many a memorable moment in the yellow and green, he was unable due to injury to help much in the final games of that relegation season under Alex Neil.
Steven Naismith is well documented as having flopped at Carrow Road and his wages were a millstone around the club’s neck after relegation. Both he and former club Everton are reported to have received £1m bonuses from last season’s promotion, by the way.
So, what about this transfer window?
I noted an interesting article in the Daily Mail in which they run through all the Premier League clubs and who they need etc, along with players they have been linked with.
Here’s their assessment of Norwich City:
What they need: Winger, centre back, def midfield
Who do they like: Mbwana Samatta (Genk), Jarrod Bowen (Hull City), Bilal Basacikoglu (Free), Glen Kamara (Rangers), Victor Camarasa (Crystal Palace), Victor Wanyama (Tottenham), Mike Tresor Ndayishimiye (NEC)
Who could go: None
In terms of Samatta, he looks like he’d be an asset, someone that I wrote about last night here.
Most of those names you will have probably already read about before and I’m sure we would all take Hull City’s Jarrod Bowen in a heartbeat. However, with Hull having the option of a one year extension on Bowen’s contract in the summer, he’d be sure to command a pretty penny in this window. A fee of £10m+ wouldn’t be out of the way and a similar fee is mentioned in the reports for Samatta.
Persuading either player to join the Canaries with their current position in the table could be Stuart Webber’s toughest task yet and if I’m honest, both seem unlikely.
The biggest name (literally) and probably the biggest salary on that list belongs to Victor Wanyama. Spurs’ defensive midfielder has hardly played under Pochettino in the last couple of years and he isn’t getting a look-in under Jose Mourinho either. I imagine his salary would be on the wrong side of large and in any case, do we really need another defensive midfielder?
With Alex Tettey playing superbly, Ibrahim Amadou on the bench and Tom Trybull being a regular partner for Tettey, it doesn’t seem to me as though defensive midfield is the position we most need to strengthen.
To my mind, we need a winger to offer competition to Onel Hernandez, a centre-back because ours are made of glass and perhaps a number 10 too, someone to feed Teemu Pukki.
I’m not sure that we need another striker because realistically, Pukki is such a good, proven striker and he’s in the form of his life. Were he to get injured we’d have a problem but buying or loaning in a big name on a big salary just to sit on the bench on the off-chance that Pukki gets injured isn’t a risk I’d take.
Expect Norwich to be alert to the possibility of another goalkeeper if the option comes up somewhere because Ralf Fahrmann will be back at Schalke in the summer, meaning we will need another senior goalkeeper. Aston Oxborough could perhaps fill the back-up role and will be looking for a high profile loan in January after injury cut short his time at Wealdstone.
If a keeper option comes up then great but if not, it’ll keep till the summer window.
Patrick Roberts could see his season-long loan cut short, although I understand that neither Norwich or his parent club, Manchester City have the option of a break in the deal. If it were to happen, as Football Insider suggest and reported here by the EDP then he could go to Middlesbrough for game time on a new loan.
Roberts has only played in the Premier League three times this season, all of which were late substitute appearances. It’s fair to say that this loan hasn’t worked out.
If both clubs agree to end the loan then it would free up a slot in the 25 man Premier League squad and another domestic loan option. Two are available each season with one still available, two if Roberts’ deal is ended.
Norwich already have their full quota of non-homegrown players (17), so would need to move one out if they wanted to look abroad this window. An obvious option for that sort of move would be Philip Heise, who is yet to play in the league and has made just one senior appearance for City in the Carabao Cup last August.
As ever, there is going to have to be some wheeling and dealing to get this all sorted out and you can be sure that this has already started some weeks ago. Having said that, due to their current position in the league table, surely City can not afford to wait until late in the window to get deals done. The need is urgent and new players are need now, as soon as possible, if they are to make a difference and be given as much time as possible to bed in.