David Hannant: Two marquee signings Norwich City need to make as soon as possible
PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:18 07 November 2018
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Given the excellent recent form, I think it's fair to say City's business in the transfer market in 2018 has been really rather impressive.
The permanent signing of the influential Moritz Leitner is looking like one of the best pieces of business in recent memory.
Picking Teemu Pukki up on a free transfer, eight goals later looks a masterstroke.
Showing faith in a disillusioned Jordan Rhodes, bringing him in on loan and helping mould him back into the player we all know he could be - great deal.
Showing similar faith in an out of practice Tim Krul, who is now looking like a rock. Genius.
Even after the transfer window (cliche alert) slammed shut, the thinking caps have still firmly been on for City’s top brass.
In the past few weeks we have seen new, long-term, contracts for flying youngsters Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons.
Now, I wasn’t born yesterday and obviously know that the lengths of these deals clearly won’t be the amount of time we enjoy the talents of the pair.
However, they certainly are a hell of a bargaining tool when the vultures do begin the circle.
Just as we saw last summer, when James Maddison signed a new contract “extending his stay until 2021”, it can be the difference between six zeroes or seven on a transfer fee in this day and age.
So far this campaign, I honestly can’t fault any of the business conducted off the field - Stuart Webber undoubtedly is a shrewd, shrewd customer.
However, there are two lingering pieces of business that I would now like to see dealt with next - sooner rather than later.
Both relate to influential figures in City’s recent success, both born in Germany, and both have no fixed ties with Norwich City beyond the end of the season.
I am, of course, talking about Timm Klose and Daniel Farke - the lifeblood of City’s back four and the gaffer himself.
We’ve heard in recent chats just how close the German-born Swiss stalwart came to leaving in the summer - the move was there and by the sounds of it, he quite fancied it. It was Klose...
However, to Farke’s credit, he convinced the ever-popular centre back to give it another year, see how things go and continue to be a leader in the dressing room.
It’s a task he has taken to with aplomb and is rightfully being given plenty of praise for it.
With Klose, I think now is the time to strike while the iron is hot and tie him down for another two or three years.
It’s clear by staying another year, Klose fancied one more crack at taking the club back to the Premier League.
With City sitting in the top two, as the form team in the league and looking like real contenders, let’s get our Timmy signed up.
His form will certainly not be going unnoticed, so he will no doubt have offers in January.
If City were to tail away between now and then - and I’m not suggesting we will - these offers may seem more tantalising.
So let’s take full advantage of the feel good factor, sit Timm down and make him an offer.
Which brings me onto the boss.
For just like Klose, City’s head coach is out of contract in the summer and - now things are clicking - may also have suitors.
As we saw with David Wagner, when his Huddersfield team was flying, Wolfsburg came knocking. To his credit, he stayed put, but can we really run the risk of somebody being able to lure away our man without having to pay through the nose for him?
We saw in the summer that he is still well thought of, with alleged approaches made for him despite a less than flattering first season.
Now things are going well, his stock is only rising. And the more things go well, the more Farke’s future is going to become a talking point, and the more it is going to become a distraction.
On the other hand though, it’s a situation that is slightly more complex than Klose’s.
I’m no football psychologist, but what if Farke’s future is one of the driving factors in City’s recent run of form?
It is clear from the shifts the lads are putting in for him that the head coach is a popular figure with his players.
So maybe there’s the slight possibility the players are aware of his contract situation and are putting in that extra bit of effort to earn him a new contract.
If that goal is achieved, would the foot come off the accelerator?
However, for me, that’s a risk well worth taking.
Whenever he or Webber is asked about the situation, they both insist it is the last thing on their minds - focus on the now.
However, for me, the next international break is the perfect opportunity to bring it to the front of their minds and get it done.
Emi is a star
Some of the more eagle-eyed of you will probably be quick to point out I didn’t mention Emi Buendia when listing the brilliant bits of business City got done in the summer.
This is simply because I wanted to give him a little more attention of his own in this part of the column.
The more I see him, the more I think we really have unearthed an absolute gem of a player.
He arrived with promises of Argentinian flair, which he delivers. But he is also bringing so much more to the table than just flair.
I’m loving his contributions in his own half almost as much as those further up the field.
Emi’s work rate is top notch, I think he’s already spent more time tracking back than some of his predecessors did in their entire City career.
He’s also not frightened to put his foot in, which is also refreshing to see, particularly from a flair player.
He’s definitely proving to be another one to file with Moritz Leitner under “how on Earth did we get him for that?”.
I feel for Lee Probert
I think Lee Probert might well be the last person in football I would want to be this week.
It goes without saying that we were all deeply saddened by the tragic events at Leicester City a few weeks back.
So when Demarai Gray put the Foxes in front at the weekend and removed his shirt to pay tribute to the fallen leader, the referee must have wanted the ground the open up and suck him in.
By the letter of the law, he has to book him. So he did, and faced a wave of hate on social media.
Had he not, he’d probably have been in hot water with his employers for trying to single-handedly set precedent over this silly law.
The sheer look of angst on the ref’s face said it all - he knew he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t.
It is not his fault the rule is in place and it was his job to enforce it. He did not deserve the abuse he received.
What it does tell you though, is the law needs to change and referees need to be given the discretion to decide when it is okay and when it is not.