With exactly a month until the transfer window closes, Vincent Ralph takes a closer look at the Canaries’ summer business to date:
Of all 20 clubs in the Premier League, Norwich City have impressed me the most in terms of their summer transfer signings. Although some may argue Manchester City have done the most impressive business thus far, Norwich have transformed their squad with exciting and hugely talented young players.
Here we take a look at who they have signed, who may follow and the regrets and reliefs of their transfer window to date.
Goalkeepers: Carlo Nash (free)
Defenders: Martin Olsson (undisclosed), Javier Garrido (undisclosed)
While Chris Hughton’s transfer budget hasn’t been revealed publicly, it appears to be higher than last year’s reported figure of £24million. The signings of van Wolfswinkel and Hooper for a combined fee in the region of £14million suggest the Canaries are ready for the next stage in their evolution.
There is a strong argument that Norwich don’t need anyone. It is whether they want to add to their already impressive squad.
Hughton has conducted his transfer business swiftly and expertly, bringing in two outstanding young strikers, a defensive midfielder who attracted interest from so-called “bigger” clubs and a winger in the form of Redmond who has the potential to outshine both Wilfried Zaha and Tom Ince in years to come.
With an outstanding youth set-up, Hughton may be advised to save any remaining money and promote from within. He can after all call on the holders of the FA Youth Cup following their outstanding victory over Chelsea back in May.
If only and what if:
Despite their impressive transfer business to date, it could have been even better…
Missing out on Toby Alderweireld won’t be too disappointing for fans given the new faces already secured. But had Hughton managed to sign the 24-year-old Ajax defender it would have been a masterstroke.
There were mixed messages over why the player rejected a move after Norwich had agreed a fee with his club, but in a fantastic close-season this was the club’s only disappointment.
From the if only to the what if, with rumours persisting among fans that Norwich are set to sign a player from a top four club on loan.
The most likely arrival is Manchester United’s Nick Powell, who has been linked with a temporary switch to Carrow Road since the start of last month. And if he can repeat the goal-scoring form that prompted United to buy him 12 months ago, Hughton’s side could be complete.
Thank God it didn’t happen:
Early in July, it appeared Norwich could lose a vital player just as they were putting the finishing touches to an impressive squad. Seeking a back-up goalkeeper for Petr Cech, Chelsea made a bid for John Ruddy, and when that was rejected, they made another one.
I wrote at the time that Norwich couldn’t let it happen, that Ruddy was crucial to their future and he would be foolish to swap a resurgent Canaries side for a stint on the Blues’ bench.
As it was, Jose Mourinho signed Mark Schwarzer and Norwich fans could breathe easy.
What to expect from the next month:
In an age when managers and clubs wait until the season is all but upon them to complete their summer business, Norwich have been the perfect example of savvy shoppers.
Along with a potential loan move for a midfield starlet – Powell or otherwise – Hughton may move for defensive cover.
And then of course there are the ongoing rumours surrounding Fabio Quagliarella. Rumours Hughton did nothing to quash during a teasing sound-bite following Hooper’s arrival.
If the Italian does sign, it will surely spell the end of Luciano Becchio’s disappointing time at Carrow Road. Even with Grant Holt sold and Simeon Jackson released, the former Leeds man will have little opportunity to make an impact in light of Norwich’s revamped forward-line.
Transfer rating with a month to go:
9 out of 10
Who else would you like to see arrive before the transfer window closes? And what do you think of Hughton's transfer business thus far?
image: © Vincent Teeuwen