The summer transfer window has fully closed now and the Canaries are left with a rather tricky situation that I’m sure they have spent months trying to avoid.
Nelson Oliveira is still a Norwich City player.
Pre-season was played out exclusively without Nelson. The signings of Jordan Rhodes and Teemu Pukki meant that Daniel Farke had other options and Stuart Webber has already told us that he and Nelson had sat down early on and decided that the talented forward would be better off leaving the club in the summer.
Oliveira didn’t travel to Germany and he wasn’t even involved with the U23s, unlike Russell Martin.
Since then, we’re not really sure what he’s been doing but from what I can make out via social media, he’s been training and would’ve no doubt been keeping himself fit, hoping for something to happen to get himself a new club.
That didn’t happen and those reports of bids of £8-12m from Reading and Swansea last summer seem a long time ago now.
The problem is clearly between the player and his Head Coach, not his teammates. There may be some issues in the group but you’d expect that in most dressing rooms. If we use Instagram as a guide though, he seems to be well thought of among the players.
He was, for example, seemingly big pals with James Maddison and the two continue to feature in each other’s IG accounts. The same with Russell Martin.
We all remember the scenes after the opening day 1-1 draw with Fulham last season and the aftermath. Due to being short of viable striking options, Farke continued to play Oliveira and initially, he continued to score.
Farke was hailed for his man-management but come the turn of the year and the goals dried up.
Nelson managed just 1 goal in 22 games after Christmas, which was the 30-yard bouncer that John Ruddy so graciously fumbled at Molineux last February, and that was it.
He finished the season with 9 goals and hasn’t played since the 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday in May.
Now though, the club has an issue. How do you solve a problem like Nelson Oliveira?
Last week, I was a guest on the Pink ‘Un show and I had the pleasure of meeting the excellent Talk Norwich City’s Chris Reeve. Whilst chatting before filming, Chris mentioned that he’d spoken to Russell Martin about our seemingly fiery Portuguese striker and that Russ spoke very highly of him, both as a man and a player.
Russ apparently said that Nelson is the most talented player now left at the club and that it was a real shame that he wasn’t being used by the Head Coach.
As I wrote a little earlier, the issue is clearly between the boss and his player. A player, it should be noted, who is currently the highest scorer of goals in a Norwich City shirt, still being paid by the club.
When I look at how the season has started, it has become clear to me that Dennis Srbeny is an option off the bench but he is not (yet) a really viable Plan B to Jordan Rhodes. So what about reintegrating Nelson?
When you bear in mind that he is probably (along with, but maybe behind, Matt Jarvis) the highest paid player now at the club and with two years left on his contract, it seems ridiculous to not be using him.
His effect on the dressing room doesn’t seem as though it would be too disruptive, so Farke surely needs to get him back and involve him. Any issues that exist between the two men need to be put behind them for the benefit of the careers of both men, I’d say.
I am encouraged by Nelson’s appearance and involvement at the Open Training Session at Carrow Road on Saturday morning and hope this is the first step to reintegration. The upcoming EFL Cup game against Wycombe Wanderers seems to me to be the perfect opportunity to get Nelson back involved.
Jordan Rhodes needs some real competition up top and although Dennis Srbeny always puts in the effort, if we’re losing a game with 20 minutes to go, bringing Oliveira off the bench to support Rhodes would make me feel a lot more optimistic than the sight of Dennis taking his tabard off (no offence, Dennis).
As a football player, you would imagine that Oliveira just wants to play. Why wouldn’t he? As a football coach, you would imagine that Farke wants to win football games because, let’s face it, his job might depend on that in a few month’s time.
The time is surely right to bring Nelson in from the cold.
He needs to play and be scoring goals to attract other clubs if he truly wants to leave and this could be a perfect situation to help everyone. I don’t know about you but my general happiness and mood are improved if Norwich City are doing well and winning.
That doesn’t mean that I have been utterly miserable for the last three years because as I’ve got older I don’t let football disappointments upset me like I perhaps did as a youngster. However, I don’t think I’m too wide of the mark if I suggest we’re all a little brighter if the Canaries are doing well, am I?
So come on Daniel, get Nelson back in the group and get him on the bench at Wycombe. You know it makes sense…