City had to cast their transfer net far and wide due to uncertain top-flight status

PUBLISHED: 09:23 25 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:23 25 September 2020

Jordan Hugill is believed to be City's most expensive signing so far this year, joining from West Ham for an initial £2.6m Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Jordan Hugill is believed to be City's most expensive signing so far this year, joining from West Ham for an initial £2.6m Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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It’s three weeks until transfer deadline day but sporting director Stuart Webber wasted no time in getting incoming business completed this summer, as a host of talent was linked with Norwich City as Premier League relegation was confirmed.

It’s three weeks until transfer deadline day but sporting director Stuart Webber wasted no time in getting incoming business completed this summer, as a host of talent was linked with Norwich City as Premier League relegation was confirmed.

The signing of centre-back Ben Gibson on loan from Burnley, with a view to a permanent deal if promotion is secured, took the total number of arrivals to 11.

While the exit door has only seen Jamal Lewis disappear through it so far, January signings Sam McCallum and Melvin Sitti also returned from their loan spells to make it 13 new faces - although the youngsters have subsequently gone back out on loan to continue their development.

News of all but one of those 13 deals had leaked prior to being officially confirmed by the Canaries, with the power of the internet making it ever more difficult for clubs to keep transfer enquiries and scouting missions under wraps.

The signing of Kieran Dowell from Everton was the deal that City managed to keep quiet prior to the unveiling of the attacking midfielder, barely a week after his successful loan stint at Wigan had concluded, during the unusually short break between seasons due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Which is why it’s worth keeping an eye on the many rumours which feature Norwich.

Fulham defender Alfie Mawson was linked prior to Norwich signing Ben Gibson and joined Bristol City on loan Picture: Barrington Coombs/PA ImagesFulham defender Alfie Mawson was linked prior to Norwich signing Ben Gibson and joined Bristol City on loan Picture: Barrington Coombs/PA Images

Some of those rumours are from less reputable sources and given short shrift, some have been fed by agents as they raise the profile of their player or eye a new contract, but some will have genuine roots.

Since the January window closed almost 40 players have been linked to the Canaries. Some are of the more outlandish variety, some are young players being monitored and some can be genuine contenders. Two contrasting examples have been provided recently.

When the TeamTalk website claimed that Norwich were interested in bringing Alex Pritchard back from Huddersfield, most City fans were immediately doubtful, due to the finance involved and the 27-year-old’s form since jumping ship as soon as he’d recovered from injury in January 2018.

Yet when renowned French newspaper L’Equipe claimed the Canaries were keen on young defender Loic Mbe Soh after he had found himself surplus to requirements at Paris Saint-Germain, that sounded much more like the kind of bargain Webber would eye.

The 19-year-old ended up joining another Championship side, Nottingham Forest, for an undisclosed fee and signing a four-year contract.

There was also the pursuit of Romania Under-21 international Dennis Man, with the colourful owner of Steaua Bucharest making all kinds of outlandish claims about the money Norwich were willing to offer for the winger as he tried to spark a bidding war.

Romanian winger Dennis Man is one of the players City were reported to be keen on Picture: Nick Potts/PA ImagesRomanian winger Dennis Man is one of the players City were reported to be keen on Picture: Nick Potts/PA Images

City moved on but it may be worth keeping an eye on the 22-year-old, as he’s scored eight goals in his first six games of this season.

Other more recognisable names have included QPR left-back Ryan Manning and winger Bright Osayi-Samuel, Fulham defender Alfie Mawson, Chelsea talent Ethan Ampadu prior to his Sheffield United loan and Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster.

Ryan Bennett and Jacob Murphy have been tentatively linked with returns to Norfolk as well.

While young talents linked have included striker Danny Loader, who left Reading this summer and signed for Porto, Gillingham defender Jack Tucker and USA youth international Zach Booth, prior to signing for Leicester from Real Salt Lake.

Others may well have been potential targets if City hadn’t been relegated, such as Braga striker Paulinho, who was one of the top scorers in Portugal last season as his team qualified for the Europa League again.

Attacking midfielder Oscar Rodriguez is another who falls into that category, scoring nine goals in the Spanish top flight for Leganes while on loan from Real Madrid - earning a £14million move to Sevilla and making his first two senior appearances for Spain recently.

That may be part of the reason for so many transfer links involving City, from having to cast the scouting net wide as Webber was planning for both possibilities prior to the season being suspended for three months in March, of Premier League survival or relegation.

For now though, the Canaries have until 11pm on Monday, October 5 to complete any further overseas deals and 5pm on Friday, October 16 to complete domestic business.

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