City’s three-point plan to unearth gems
Norwich City’s scouting brains aim to stay one step ahead of the pack again this summer.
The Canaries’ Championship promotion surge has been founded on blooding young academy talent and astute recruitment. Teemu Pukki tops the goal charts with 24 in the league, after arriving on a free transfer, while Emi Buendia has blossomed after being plucked from the Spanish second division.
Sporting director Stuart Webber recently revealed City had already drawn up their potential target list, for both Premier League and Championship scenarios.
Key to that work is head of recruitment Kieran Scott and his team of analysts based at Colney poring over data.
Scott knows the pressure is on to find more gems like Buendia, who starred on loan at Cultural Leonesa before pitching up in Norfolk.
“Emi came in statistically very high, he was scouted very well, he fitted the age band, we went to watch him live and he was a very quick ‘yes’,” said Scott, speaking to Reuters.
“Why was no-one else watching? I don’t know. I was sat there thinking why I am the only person here in Leonesa? I just couldn’t work it out.”
Webber has a simple three-point plan for identifying fresh talent.
“Firstly, developing a way of playing which your supporters can identify with and relate to,” he said.
“Secondly having an open mind in the transfer market as a club that is self-funded, acknowledging that there are lots of players that offer better value than in the UK. Third thing is a real emphasis and passion for young players.
“We know what we are looking for, we know what a full back, for example, for Norwich City has to look like.
“We try to take away the personal opinion and look at it in terms of a fit for us. That helps you rule out a lot of players quickly. A number nine who is good in the air may tick lots of boxes, but we don’t play in the air.”
Under head coach Daniel Farke, City have tried to fuse the best of British and German football influences.
“That is very powerful,” said Webber. “A British player is much more professional on the pitch, works harder in training and tougher. But a German player is much more professional off the pitch – will take his nutrition, rest and recovery seriously.
“They are brought up more professionally. We have a really strong mix.”