The news on Monday tea time that Norwich City had accepted an offer of around £12.5m from Newcastle for Jacob Murphy didn’t surprise me.
We knew all along that players would have to leave in order to improve a squad that could not be described as balanced. Last season, we could all see that the side was heavily slanted in an attacking bias with the defence left woefully short. It seems that is being redressed quite quickly.
So will the sale of Jacob Murphy hurt us?
Not so much and I’ll tell you why.
At the start of last season, if you’d asked me which one of the Murphy twins would make the first team, I would’ve said ‘Josh’, without any hesitation.
After all, he had just returned from a season long loan at MK Dons with the Player of the season award in his back pocket. Jacob had done okay at Coventry too but his form had tailed off, a couple of Sky Blues’ fans I know, had told me.
Jacob hit the Championship at speed and scored on the opening day at Blackburn.
Whenever I saw him play I thought that he looked a little weak and he was often knocked off the ball, he was also lousy at tracking back and that didn’t help Ivo Pinto out much. At 22 years old, I doubt that he is going to ‘fill out’ too much more than he is now either.
This time last year, Reading had a £300k bid for Jacob knocked back. Fast forward 12 months and after one full season in the Championship and 10 goals, we’ve accepted £12.5m plus.
Having said that though, he has quick feet, lightning pace and he is able to score a goal out of nothing. He can be fairly anonymous for most of the game and then suddenly fire in a 20 yarder.
His league performances and goals earned him, quite rightly, a place in the England U21 Euro 2017 squad and his performances in Poland added a couple of million more to his price tag.
The unique thing about this whole situation is that we have an exact replica of Jacob already on the books. I can’t imagine that has ever happened anywhere before, at least I can’t think of it.
Josh is the same build, knocked off the ball a little too easily, lousy at tracking back but with the same quick feet, lightning pace and ability to score at any moment. I have no doubt that Josh will be able to replicate his brother’s form in the Championship given the chance.
We saw at the end of the season when Alan Irvine played Josh instead of Jacob that he has the same ability and he got goals and assists. The twins rarely played together for the first team in their time at Norwich and more often than not under Alex Neil, he replaced Jacob with Josh as a 70th odd minute substitute.
Norwich have already signed a winger in the shape of Marley Watkins who scored as many goals in the Championship last season as Jacob but for a team that scored 21 fewer goals and, crucially he was free.
The talk is that the fee for Jacob is £12.5m plus add-ons and those add-ons are likely to make Jacob the Canaries’ biggest ever player sale.
That money will be unexpected, in that it won’t have been budgeted for, so it will suddenly give the coffers a big boost and enable the club to add to the squad even further.
Toni Leistner of FC Union Berlin is a name that won’t go away and the signing of another centre back would really strengthen the numbers if Daniel Farke is keen on three at the back. It may also mean that City will sell Timm Klose, who is likely to be among the highest earners in the squad. I hope he stays, but don’t be surprised if he goes.
I would like to see us sign another striker and a midfielder as well and then I think we’re there or there abouts barring any further sales in the style of Murphy.
The most important thing in all this though is that we have sold Jacob for the greater good of the club and the squad, oh and we also have Josh too.
From Jacob’s point of view, this is a good move. He gets to play in front of a sell out 50k a week crowd at a massive club under a Champions League and La Liga winning manager. The talk is that he is a Newcastle fan too and that’s all before you consider his large wage increase and the Premier League.
Every player wants to test themselves at the highest level and should he make a big impact then a full England call up will be a lot closer than if he was scoring goals in the Championship. It worked out that way for Nathan Redmond.
All the best Jacob, yes you’re one of our own and you’re leaving but hopefully it will work out well for all of us. Good luck fella.