What next for Nelson Oliveira?
Would you keep him or would you sell him? Can the club even afford to keep him?
The summer looks set to be an interesting one as far as Norwich City’s firebrand striker is concerned.
The last 12 months have been full of speculation surrounding Nelson and where he’s going to be playing his football.
Signed from Benfica for a reported fee of around £5m, I must admit to not exactly being elated at his signing. He had never scored double figures in a season in his career when he arrived at Carrow Road in August 2016, but he quickly set about winning me/us over and managed 15 goals in that first season in yellow and green.
He missed a few chunks of the season due to niggling injuries that year but ended up as a bit of a fan favourite, especially when compared to Cameron Jerome, whose powers were clearly on the wane.
It came as a surprise to most of us, I think, when Jerome started this season at Fulham with Nelson watching on from the bench. The fiery forward came off the bench late on, along with Wes Hoolahan and the pair of them combined for a last minute equaliser.
Nelson’s celebration and reaction to Daniel Farke showed there were issues behind the scenes. Farke was widely acknowledged as having dealt with the situation well when he dropped Oliveira for a couple of games and a public apology from the player followed too.
Three goals in the first four games of last season, as he struggled with a back/groin/teeth injury, and we were all thinking that it would be a super season for Nelson and he even got a recall for Portugal.
However, his final stats for the season of 9 goals in 41 appearances, including 1 goal in a 5-1 win over the Faroe Islands with his country didn’t fulfil that early promise.
He went on a terrible goal drought between December 22nd and February 21st before bagging a rather fortunate 30-yard strike at Wolves and then failed to score again for the rest of the season.
That’s 1 goal in his last 22 appearances of the season and that is frankly appalling. He got dropped due to ”not working hard enough” in March and was basically operating a shoot on sight policy during most of that time.
Time and again, he lashed shots high, wide and even off the roof of the stands as he attempted to score from ever more outlandish distances and positions.
He was clearly not happy and was intent on letting everyone know it.
He’s been talking to Portuguese sports paper, A Bola, in the last day or two and he’s been a bit cryptic about what the future holds for him.
There was talk of City knocking back £8-12m bids (depending on what papers you read) from Swansea, Wolves and Reading last summer and with goals a priority for Daniel Farke this summer, it would be no surprise if Nelson moved on.
He has two years left on his Norwich contract and is likely to be earning around £30k per week. That wage will be something Stuart Webber would like to lose and with two years left, he’s going to have a certain amount of value in the market, with a few suitors too.
Towards the end of the season, I thought that Nelson’s performances got better, albeit without scoring any goals.
He did really well in the Leeds game a couple of weeks ago and put in a real shift for the team. If he were to play like that every week, then the goals would surely come.
If I were in charge though, I think I’d be selling him this summer. The wage bill needs cutting and his transfer fee would come in handy. He has proved something of a luxury player this term and it seems as though he has some beef with Daniel Farke too.
That may or may not be true, I have no idea, but it just looks as though their relationship isn’t an easy one, at times.
One thing is for certain though, if Oliveira is sold then he must be replaced by an effective, proven goal scorer because another Dennis Srbeny is not going to be the answer.