Connor Southwell: Saturday was the day Buendia announced his arrival to the Premier League
PUBLISHED: 16:42 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:42 17 September 2019
After his exploits in the Championship last season, it seemed only a matter of time before the Premier League discovered Emi Buendia.
His talent has been a well-kept secret in these quarters since he arrived from Getafe last summer.
Moments of brilliance became associated with that number 17 shirt throughout the entirety of last season and his contribution saw him finish third in the Canaries' Player of the Season vote for the 2018-19 campaign.
Buendia is cut from a similar cloth to that of a certain Wes Hoolahan in the manner that he provokes emotion whilst reminding you why you adore football.
Every twist the Argentinean executes is like watching a professional dancer weave his way across a dance floor.
With all of that in mind, everyone seemed to be waiting for the Premier League community to latch onto him. His start to life in the top flight had been relatively muted, in part due to the goal-scoring form of Teemu Pukki but equally down to his performances.
As he flicked the ball over Rodri, a £60m midfielder, there seemed a collective Eureka moment. Buendia's starring role was of the standard Norwich City supporters have become accustomed to, and the shock waves from that performance on Saturday have reached a mass audience.
With adrenaline coursing through their veins as they returned from a historic night at Carrow Road, supporters would have settled in to watch Match of the Day expecting the narrative to surround how Manchester City lost rather than a discussion on how Norwich beat them.
Instead, what transpired was gushing praise from Ian Wright, not only for Buendia but for Norwich as a collective. The way in which the Canaries operated against the league champions has won them friends among several mainstream media outlets.
Wright went on to highlight Buendia's performance specifically, speaking about the 'total' nature of it. "Tackling, passing, getting Norwich going. He did everything today," Wright said on air.
The midfielder has taken a while to hit his stride but Saturday earmarked his arrival into the discussions surrounding Norwich.
Pukki will receive a high quantity of the headlines, but it was Buendia who drove Norwich and aided that bypass of the Manchester City press which proved pivotal throughout the game. Considering his fellow compatriots who donned the shirts of the opposition, it was Buendia who resembled a high-value seasoned international.
Confliction between his numbers and the opinions over his performances have created debate surrounding the quality of his start to Norwich's top-flight campaign among the Canary nation. Saturday seemed to be an occasion where the two married up to create the show-stopping performance that City supporters know he is capable of producing.
Statistically, his offensive productivity has been positive. Buendia has now recorded four assists in his opening five Premier League fixtures - nobody since Eden Hazard has managed a return like that since the 2012-13 season.
Defensively, he is prepared to graft to retain his defensive position in the transition but equally, is aggressive in the tackle and has a desire to win the ball - yet another factor that was documented regarding his performance on Saturday. From gaining possession to touches on the ball, Buendia topped every chart while impacting the game with his talent.
At 22 years of age, this is all just the beginning; he's still educating himself and it's worth noting this is a player Norwich recruited when others sought reasons not to. In Daniel Farke, like numerous other players, he's plying his trade under a coach who allows him to be expressive in possession. With Buendia, an over-emphasis on defensive responsibility won't extract his real ability. Instead, permitting bravery and instilling a belief are what obtains his trust.
An allowance for mistakes and encouragement will aid his development from here - Farke will grant him that.
In Spain, he was labelled as a trouble-maker; in Norwich, he's proven himself to be a grafter both on and off the pitch. Now, he is a crucial cog in the Farke machine, a key to unlocking defensive doors.
Pundits will continue to discover him; the secret may be out. Others have caught onto what Norfolk already knew about him; from that perspective, it's overdue.