Ambitious Norwich City Building Wisely
Norwich City have been busy this window with five new players arriving at Carrow Road. However, they are unorthodox signings from the Yellows. The new boys were sought after talents in football. Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Nathan Redmond, Martin Olsson, Carlo Nash and Leroy Fer have all been brought to the club in what seems a surprising, yet exciting wave of ambition.
First one through the door was Dutch striker, Ricky Van Wolfswinkel. The hit man arrives in England carrying an impressive reputation from his tenure at Sporting Lisbon, finding the net 20 times in 41 appearances for Sporting CP. The fee for the transfer was rumoured to be €10m + €2m in bonuses. I for one was shocked, as I had no idea Norwich’s owners had money of this sort to spend. However, it’s an exciting transfer for both the player and the club, with all concerned hoping the striker replicates his form in Portugal in order to take Norwich that extra level. Norwich’s new ‘No. 9’ certainly has a lot to offer. He’s lethal in the 18 yard box, with precise shooting and impressive heading accuracy with the ability to hold the ball up and draw his team mates into the game. For Norwich, he could certainly become the focal point of their attack and an integral part of Chris Hughton’s plans, if he performs. Norwich are likely to play to his strengths after spending a fair amount on him. Van Wolfswinkel joining the Canaries was a statement of intent and sends a signal to the rest of the Premier League that Norwich are certainly targeting more than a mid table finish. Yet, there was more to follow.
Next in was Nathan Redmond. The 19 year old made his U21 debut at England’s disappointing campaign, but was one of the few players who could hold his head high. The Canaries secured Redmond for as little as £2m on a four year contract. A massive steal, as Redmond is one of the brightest English prospects to me. I highly rate him, as do many, which alone should excite Norwich fans. The buzz around England U21’s was mainly focused on Tom Ince and Wilfried Zaha, yet it was Redmond who made the bigger impression. A massive coup from Norwich. For his age, Redmond boasts some impressive attribrutes for an attacking player. Firstly, he has electric pace on and off the ball. Whether he is making a darting run into space to recieve the ball of roasting the full backs, Redmond’s blistering speed is an asset ideal for wide men, as well as being ideally suited to the high-tempo and tenacity the Premier League is played at. However, Redmond has more in his locker than being deployed out wide. His versatality and freedom has resulted in Redmond being deployed in the hole behind the striker, during his Birmingham days. Redmond thrived in the ‘No.10’ role for the West Midlands club, providing unpredicability with his quick feet, shooting and his range of passing. A creative character, Redmond’s possesses multiple attributes to be deployed and succeed across Norwich’s attacking line.
For Norwich fans, they should certainly be excited and pleased. At just 19, Redmond has the potential to set the Premier League alight once he’s fully accustomed to his new surroundings. Yet, they should be pleased with more than just securing his signature. The £2m transfer fee is an absolute steal from under the noses of their Premier League rivals. Birmingham’s current financial predicament may have scuppered their chances of demanding much more as well as the player entering the final year of his deal, so Norwich’s capitalisation could be seen as an astute signing within good time.
Swedish left back Martin Olsson arrives from Blackburn Rovers on a four-year deal, for an undisclosed fee. Certainly not a marquee signing, but Olsson is an intelligent signing. Competition is healthy, and that is what Norwich now have in the form of the Swede and fellow left back, the Spaniard Garrido. I would favor Olsson to start over Garrido, but a rotational system between the pair certainly isn’t a bad thing. With Blackburn being relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2011-12 season, Olsson was one of the few players to have impressed for the Lancashire side. Many had him destined to move on, but he honoured his deal for Blackburn for another twelve months before making the switch. Olsson can certainly establish himself as one of the Premier League’s finest left backs, after being one of the few Blackburn players to impress. Olsson possesses an excellent combination of speed and energy. Both attribrutes compliment each other. Quick bursts of speed make him a tricky player to mark for the defending side, whilst also making it a difficult task for the opposing right winger to get the better of him in attack. For a Norwich side that was suspect to looking sluggish at times last season, Olsson is a signing that can alter the balance of speed within the Canaries’ ranks. His energy is pivotal to his game. A ‘never say die’ attitude – Olsson has an undefiable engine and will certainly work for the good of his team. Yet another signing that could have Premier League clubs reconsidering Norwich as a force for next season.
Goalkeeper Carlo Nash was brought into the club on a one year deal. Nash will be no more than cover for John Ruddy, that’s almost certified. Currently, Nash can be considered Norwich’s most bizarre signing. The baffling arrival of the free agent after ending his association with Stoke City doesn’t make sense. He rarely featured for Stoke, especially in recent times as he was a fringe player at most. In terms of experience, his arrival still perplexes me. Nash experienced promotion with Stoke but still wasn’t a key player. Nor was he in Stoke’s FA Cup run three years ago or their Europa League campaign. Most can only presume Nash is brought in as a squad filler, as it’s unlikely he will make any more than a handful of appearances. Why? John Ruddy and Mark Bunn are considered higher in the pecking order.
The latest arrival in Norwich is one that came as a surpise. Unexpected yet an excellent piece of business. Leroy Fer arrived from FC Twente for yet another undisclosed fee on a four year deal. The Dutchman is yet another statement from intent from Norwich, as part of their rebuilding programme. Fer, a former Everton target, was in good form for the Netherlands U21 side as he netted twice for his nation. His arrival at Carrow Road comes as a surprise in itself. After Everton had agreed a deal for the Dutchman for £8.6m, it soon fell through after concerns arised over the condition of his knees. Everton ultimately cancelled the proceeding of the deal as they did not want to pursue their interest in such a risk. Norwich clearly found no issue and brought the Dutchman in. Central midfield was an area Norwich have lacked depth in recently, so Fer’s arrival addresses the situation with a player capable of filling the void. Fer is predominantly a box to box midfielder, similar to his new team mate Alexander Tettey. The two could form a strong bond in the heart of Norwich’s midfield, with Tettey likely to drop deeper and discipline himself to the defensive duties. This allows Fer the freedom to contribute in his sides attack and eases the burden on himself and his team mates. The second Dutchman to arrive in Norfolk and another signing that leads many to believe Norwich could the Premier League’s dark horses for next season.
Norwich’s emergence in the transfer window and influx of higher calibre players is a situation many (myself included) will be keeping tabs on. Mostly for the new signings will attract neutrals, but mainly to see the style of play the Canaries implement and how the team perform with the new recruits. As for those of any relation to Norwich, it can be an avenue of multiple spin offs. Exciting for the fans. Alarming for the longer serving Norwich players whilst also being a wake-up call for those to prove their worth.
If it goes to plan, there’s no reason Norwich cannot establish themselves as a top 10 side. Yet the same was said about QPR last term, so Norwich need to be careful about their approach to further transfers and the season ahead.
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