According to the Daily Mirror, Steven Naismith has been handed a way out of Norwich City by his old boss David Moyes at Sunderland. Naismith worked under Moyes at Everton, his previous club before an £8.5 million switch to Carrow Road. His spell in east Anglia has proved fruitless though, with just two goals in 18 appearances and Norwich’s relegation from the Premier League. The fee is believed to be in the region of £4 million.
Where would he fit in at the Stadium of Light?
Naismith is a very versatile forward, capable of playing from a wide position or leading the line, though he prefers to operate just behind a traditional centre forward. The Scot relies of cute and clever movement to fashion chances from himself; he is not blessed with blistering pace or abundant ability but is a very canny operator. The Black Cats are not exactly blessed with an array of forward options; Jermain Defoe was exceptional last season but is now 33, while Fabio Borini has always been a profligate finisher. Naismith’s former teammate Steven Pienaar was a recruit earlier in the summer and the two of them could be deployed in any of the three positions behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1. Naismith never has never got into double figures for goals in a Premier League season, but is player Moyes will trust.
Is he worth the fee?
Amidst the madness of this particular transfer window, £4 million is an inconsequential amount of money for a Premier League club to spend. At 29, he still has a couple of seasons in him in the top division but carries no re-sale value whatsoever. Nevertheless, Sunderland need to increase their forward options desperately and clubs would typically expect to pay more than that at this stage of the window; Jonathan Kodjia has already moved from Bristol City for £11 million this week. Naismith is good in the air and a sound penalty taker, and although he is not a prolific goalscorer, he does have knack of scoring against the big teams. The Scot netted a hat trick in Everton’s 3-1 win over Chelsea at Goodison Park last September, as well as getting on the scoresheet against Liverpool for Norwich. Sunderland fans will not be too concerned about whether Naismith represents value for money.
How likely is this deal?
Sunderland seem to be the only dog in this particular race so expect this deal to go through without too many hitches. Norwich are in a troubled financial situation and are in a weak bargaining position, so Sunderland have swooped. Naismith is keen to reunite with fellow countryman and former boss Moyes, so all three parties should be able to reach an agreement very quickly. No volcanic ash clouds are imminent, so Naismith should be in the clear to travel to Wearside, have a medical and sign a contract with Sunderland this afternoon.
Verdict: Very likely
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Wolves at risk of losing talented youngster Cameron John
The talented teenager could leave Molineux Stadium this summer.
Talented youngster Cameron John is still yet to make his Wolverhampton Wanderers debut and the youngster is reportedly growing frustrated with his lack of game-time.
Despite not making a senior appearance at the Molineux Stadium, the 18-year-old is still hot property and a number of clubs are preparing to swoop for him.
A talented centre-back, who can also play on the left side of defence, John has impressed Scott Sellars’ in his Under-23 side over the past season and he may be rewarded with a move this summer that will see him rewarded with greater senior opportunities.
The Championship would suit John more than the Premier League and Brighton have also recently signed Leon Balogun from Bundesliga club Mainz, meaning the south coast side may not see John as a potential starter, but rather an addition to strengthen their squad.
Also, Wolves are close to announcing Willy Boly on a permanent deal, which could be a message to John that he is not in manager Nuno’s long-term plans. Therefore, a move to Gary Rowett’s Stoke or Daniel Farke’s Norwich seems most likely.
It would be a surprising move for Wolves to allow one of their best talents to leave the club. However, with heavy summer investments imminent, the club are more likely to be focused on bringing ready-made Premier League players to the Midlands, which could mean the youngster is better-suited finding first-team football elsewhere.
At only 18 years of age, John undoubtedly has a bright future and the growing interest of teams only showcases the raw talent that he possesses. He is a talented youngster, but he finds himself at a crossroads in his career, and it will be interesting to see what will follow with his next move.
Marcus Edwards is struggling at Norwich, but so did Harry Kane
The 19-year-old Tottenham Hotspur talent is still waiting to have an impact at Carrow Road.
Tottenham Hotspur have high hopes for their talented attacking midfielder Marcus Edwards. The 19-year-old has long been one of the names on the tip of Tottenham fans tongues when it comes to talent at the club. Back in 2016 Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino likened him to his compatriot Lionel Messi – high praise.
In January Edwards was sent out on loan to Championship side Norwich City to get some first-team experience. The idea was that Edwards would get plenty of football at Carrow Road and highlight his obvious talent. Unfortunately for the teenager and Tottenham that has not been the case.
Edwards is still waiting for his debut for the Canaries. Norwich boss Daniel Farke has criticised his lack of work off the ball. Not long after completing the signing, Farke was quoted by the Eastern Daily Press as stating:
“There is no doubt with the ball he is one of our best players. But without it, he has to grow up a bit.
“That was the reason he didn’t play for Tottenham.”
But Edwards should not be too put off if his spell at Norwich proves unsuccessful. It would not be the first time a top Tottenham talent has struggled on loan at Carrow Road. Just ask Harry Kane.
Kane joined Norwich on loan at the end of August in 2012, with the Canaries then in the Premier League. Kane played just five times for the club before he was recalled by Spurs.
Instead of letting his Norwich nightmare get him down, Kane dusted himself and got to work. The next season was his breakthrough Tottenham campaign. With 134 goals in 204 games for the club since, Kane certainly did not let the failed Norwich loan spell hold him back.
Edwards has been praised for a change in his attitude this week by Farke and perhaps he will get a chance for Norwich before the end of the season.
If not, he can look at the example set by Kane and realise a failed loan spell can be as much a learning curve as a successful one.
Tottenham fans should also remember as much, and back Edwards when he does return to Tottenham in the summer.
A project is underway at Norwich City, but is it the right one?
Outsiders looking in at Norwich City would say this has been a season of regression and underachievement at Carrow Road.
Yet, as the financial implications of relegation from the Premier League linger should Norwich fail to gain promotion – which seems increasingly likely – times are tough off the field in NR1.
Amidst all this financial pressure, the need to cut cloth has been graphically displayed through the departure of four senior players for substantial fees.
In truth, Norwich is in the process of a transition.
Previously, the club has been spearheaded by an omnipotent chief executive who oversaw everything from the football recruitment to how the club is run day to day.
Now, Norwich have adopted a more continental approach to their footballing structure, installing Stuart Webber as Sporting Director, who subsequently appointed Borussia Dortmund II coach Daniel Farke as his Head Coach.
Farke arrived in Norfolk with a label of being a progressive coach who developed young talent, playing a possession based style in the process.
He was met with a reality check as to the brutality and physicality of the division, and adeptly transformed Norwich into an outfit that could grind out results. Yet, defeat to Arsenal in the Carabao Cup saw this team endure a terrible run of form which was only halted at Christmas.
This is an experiment. A rebuild the scale of which hasn’t been seen in NR1 before and, in all honesty, it is an entirely unpredictable entity.
This season supporters have felt apathy, pride and disappointed. This was supposed to be a season of improvement and progression. Instead, this team seems to be stagnating in the division whilst selling its prized asset.
The reality is Norwich is self funding and whilst the current regime is in place, the reality is Norwich will have to sell their top talent in order to progress. See Alex Pritchard, Jonny Howson and Jacob Murphy. The parameters of the debate surrounding the current top brass at Carrow Road are there to be argued all day long.
What is abundantly clear is that Norwich need to ensure they are prepared for the difficulties lying ahead and reducing the wage bill by half, whilst attempting to fill a £30 million hole in the finances with the sales of top talent, is both logical and necessary.
Whilst the squad has changed dramatically, there is still a sense that Farke hasn’t formed a side which is capable of applying his intricate philosophy. In terms of recruitment thus far, Webber and Farke have prioritised steading a backline which leaked profusely last campaign.
With the experience of Grant Hanley and the insurgence of Christoph Zimmermann, Norwich’s reargued is a more balanced and reliable unit. Now attentions have been turned onto the other end of the pitch as Norwich’s toothless nature has been seen all too often.
When James Maddison’s reliable radar is astray, Norwich looks inept and devoid of any imagination. Offensively, the Canaries require differentiation in regards to how they offensively approach games. Norwich must retain the services of the young Englishman to keep this upward mobility discovered prior to Sheffield United.
Everything offensively positive has come through Maddison.
This is a side lacking athleticism and pace in wide areas, but also lack a striker who fits perfectly into Farke’s style.
With more bodies incoming in the days approaching, Farke should have a deeper squad at his disposal alongside some funds to recruit talent with the money gained from Pritchard’s sale.
This philosophy is still in the early days of construction. The frameworks and apparatus are still being put into place with Webber ensuring the academy is improved and there is a clear pathway for young players, like Jamal Lewis, to step up and play in the first team.
A pathway through the loan system has also been established. For a club with increasingly limited resources, Norwich will become reliant on their academy in regards to making money and improving the first team.
So where is Norwich at present?
Considering the change which has occurred from top to bottom at this football club and the constraints of the financial straitjacket in which Farke has had to operate, alongside seeing four instrumental players leaving in his first six month in charge, Norwich are left with a disjointed squad. However, Farke is doing a good job.
He has displayed he has the qualities and tactical nous to take this football club forward, and that he buys into the long term project in place. His reliance on young players will be of benefit to the football club in the long-term, while he looks set to ensure the academy is prosperous for the future.
This is a project, and one Norwich need to stick with.