As the Canaries continue their impressive summer spending, just how good could they be next season?
Spending money is easy. But spending it wisely is a far more difficult proposition.
Swansea and Norwich have done very much the latter this summer, making some of the most astute signings of recent times, and doing so without breaking the bank.
When Norwich agreed a deal for Ricky van Wolfswinkel back in March, more than a few eyebrows were raised as to why a player of such goal-scoring ability would pick Carrow Road over arguably a more illustrious canvas for his art.
And yet that is doing Chris Hughton’s side a huge disservice. They are on the verge of making a breakthrough every bit as important as gaining promotion or securing a place in Europe.
There is every chance that next season they could be the best of the rest. Along with Swansea that is – a side whose first two seasons in the top flight have been the perfect example of Premier League progression, first securing stability and then winning both trophies and respect with both their ethos and their style.
While the majority of next-big-thing plaudits have been showered on Wilfried Zaha and Tom Ince, Nathan Redmond deserves more than a few of his own.
The fact that Hughton signed the 19-year-old for just over £3million is a master-stroke in itself. That he has also signed Martin Olsson and is now being linked with Leroy Fer and Fabio Quagliarella speaks of a manager and a club not intent on mid-table security.
Those are signings to propel them to the next level.
And the same can be said of Swansea, who have now added the likes of Jose Canas, Jonjo Shelvey and Wilfried Bony to their burgeoning stable.
The simple fact is, while the “big” clubs struggle to sign their top targets, Hughton and Michael Laudrup are quietly assembling teams with the ability to cause more than a few shocks next season.
The Swans’ signing of the prolific Bony – along with their recent League Cup success – suggested they were set to step up another level.
And yet should Norwich sign Fer and Quagliarella – and should everyone stay fit – it could easily be they who are the sensation of the new campaign; especially with the Swan’s distracted by a Europa League campaign.
image: © Vincent Teeuwen