The last time that Norwich City had a good, regular and free scoring striker, was Grant Holt between 2009-2013.
Think about that and the effect that his goal scoring had on our team. I’ve written in the past that I am of the opinion that Holt decided that he was going to the Premier League and that he dragged Norwich City along with him.
I know that probably wasn’t entirely true when he first joined us in the summer of 2009 and that he was most likely looking to just score goals in front of a big crowd and see where it took him. However, once he’d scored that hat trick against Ipswich at Carrow Road, I like to think that was the moment that he decided where he and the rest of us were headed.
Holt was at the peak of his powers when Bryan Gunn made him a Canary, I’ll grant you that, but what basically happened after that was an aligning of the stars. The right player, managed by the right manager at the right club, at the right time.
We’ve not been close to finding that formula ever since that time and then Chris Hughton arrived, deciding that he wanted to play in a different way.
The players that have tried to replace Holty have been tepid at best and freezing cold at worst.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Johan Elmander, Gary Hooper, Lewis Grabban, Dieumerci Mbokani, Cameron Jerome, Nelson Oliveira and Dennis Srbeny. If I’ve missed anyone out then I’m sorry but that’s off the top of my head.
The best of that bunch was Cameron Jerome who scored 38 goals in 130 appearances, compared to Holt’s 68 in 154.
I’m an unashamed Grant Holt fan and three Barry Butler Memorial Trophy wins in a row tells it’s own story. If you ever get the chance to meet him, he’s even a nice bloke too.
His work rate, his goals, his attitude, his leadership and his sheer will to win have never been replaced.
So, getting back to the here and now, it’s the summer of 2018, five years after Holty left Carrow Road and we are still bumping our collective gums, telling each other that we need to buy a striker who can actually score goals by the hatful and cussing on every deadline day when it doesn’t happen.
Why does it never happen?
Last season, we had just the two strikers in the squad at any one time. Oliveira and Jerome, who was then replaced by Srbeny.
Those three players managed a grand total of just 9 league goals between them in the whole of last season for Norwich City.
Not good enough is it? Not by a long chalk.
This summer’s transfer speculation again centres around players other than strikers and we have sold three midfield players and bought three (McLean, Buendia and Leitner), soon to be four with Ben Marshall.
The only links to strikers have come in the last week with Jordan Rhodes and Jack Marriott being mentioned. To my mind, Marriott is probably a complete non-starter due to the £6m asking price, which leaves Rhodes at Sheffield Wednesday.
The talk is that the Owls want a £3m loan fee to be paid and his wages of £50k per week. That’s crazy money for an out of sorts goal scorer, albeit one that does have a decent track record in the past. Again, it’s going to be out of our reach.
Take a look at Wednesday’s forward players and compare it to ours, then let it sink in.
How much do you reckon that lot are drawing in wages every week?!
Never mind the money, I can’t help but be envious of that embarrassment of riches. I would settle for just a couple of them. It’s worth remembering that Wednesday want that fortune for Rhodes now. They won’t get any takers, I’ll wager.
As the deadline for transfers approaches and they stare down the barrel of financial fair play, perhaps the price will come down. I seem to remember a similar thing happening with Grant Hanley last summer. Stuart Webber said that we couldn’t afford him at the start of the window but that his price came down as the deadline approached.
Buying a good striker is hard to do for a club in our position. Most fans can tell you who’s decent and who’d score goals in this league but all of those players will cost a packet. Last season’s top scorer, Matej Vydra is looking at a £12m move to Leeds and probable £40k per week wages.
That is well out of our reach and even the top scorer from League One last season (Marriott) will cost half that Vydra fee plus big wages.
I get that it costs a lot of money to sign this type of player but we’ve had plenty of money in the last five years and messed it up time and time again. Leaving us in the situation we’re now in, scratching around in the lower leagues of Germany.
Perhaps Srbeny will come good, perhaps Oliveira will come good or more likely in my mind, they won’t. Maybe Farke knows of a striker of Moritz Leitner’s quality that we’ve never heard of, who is available for a song or maybe he doesn’t.
I can’t provide you with an answer to this conundrum but I can tell you that a regular scoring striker is an absolute must and we really can’t afford to make five years A.H (after Holt) turn into six years A.H.