Hit or miss? Franke has proved new City regime’s most costly transfer failure so far
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:50 29 June 2018
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As Marcel Franke follows Marley Watkins through the Carrow Road exit door, David Freezer assesses the transfer success of Norwich City’s new regime so far with the hits and misses of the past year.
No club in the world gets every transfer right – the biggest clubs in the world have had plenty of flops and Norwich City are no different.
There has been a huge turnover of players as Canaries sporting director Stuart Webber tried to help balance the books while working with head coach Daniel Farke to try and stay competitive in the Championship. While a 14th-placed finish leaves plenty of room to improve, plenty of the players brought in have proved popular with fans.
Kenny McLean and Emi Buendia are the next players City supporters are waiting to get a proper look at, while January arrivals Onel Hernandez, Dennis Srbeny and Moritz Leitner all deserve more time, with Spurs loanee Marcus Edwards the only real flop of the January business. Here’s how the new regime’s signings have fared, so far...
Marley Watkins – MISS
Fresh from a season of scoring 10 goals in 42 Championship games for Barnsley a free transfer seemed a very sensible signing.
The forward failed to settle though and most fans were pleased to see City managed to get £1million from Bristol City for him earlier this month, after one goal in 28 games.
Mario Vrancic – HIT
The Bosnia & Herzegovina international midfielder initially struggled to catch up to the pace of English football after signing from German second tier side Darmstadt for a fee of £650,000.
However, the 29-year-old eventually found his feet and started to show his passing range, leaving Farke to admit he was unlucky to lose his starting place.
Angus Gunn – HIT
Signing a young goalkeeper who was yet to play a senior game was an undoubted gamble, if you look beyond the eye-catching story of a Norwich-born son of a Canaries legend returning to the club.
Gunn backed up his potential though, big time: England senior call-up, third in player-of-the-season vote, one of the best keepers in the league.
Christoph Zimmermann – HIT
The imposing centre-back’s quest to step up from the fourth tier of German football was always a low-risk move, as he followed Farke across from Dortmund U23s on a free transfer.
Although his first City season wasn’t always plain sailing, the defender’s big character and obvious bravery have made him a fan favourite – and earned him a contract until 2021.
Harrison Reed – HIT
Just about qualifies as a hit after his season-long loan from Southampton, of which much of the second half was spent covering at right-back.
Lack of physicality was an issue in midfield but excellent attitude and work ethic ensured he was popular with many City fans, although a return looks unlikely.
James Husband – MISS
Another low-risk arrival after being signed for around £500,000 from Middlesbrough, in a deal worth up to £1m, after injury issues had stunted his development – including loans at Fulham and Huddersfield.
Started 14 league games and saw Marco Stiepermann chosen ahead of him at left-back, before Jamal Lewis emerged at Christmas. Two years left on his contract and only 24 years old so time is on his side.
Marcel Franke – MISS
The most costly failure of the new era so far, after being signed from Greuther Furth in a deal worth up to £2.5m.
Seventh appearance was the 4-0 nightmare at Millwall. January loan to Dynamo Dresden followed in January and now loaned back to the German second tier with Darmstadt for this season, who have the option to buy.
Tom Trybull – HIT
Ex-Werder Bremen midfielder established himself as a classy operator after joining on a free having left Dutch side Den Haag.
Missed two chunks of the season through injury but expected to be a key player if he can stay fit, having extended his contract until 2021.
Marco Stiepermann – JURY’S OUT
Difficult to judge the ex-Bochum man after covering well at left-back before fading and telling the media he was ‘born to score goals’ after his switch for a £1m fee.
Combative and determined but missed most of the second half of the season after hernia surgery.
Sean Raggett – JURY’S OUT
Towering defender signed for £350,000 but loaned back to Lincoln until January.
Just two brief appearances as a substitute for City followed.
Grant Hanley – HIT
At £3.5m the Scotland defender was the most expensive signing but has proved to be worth every penny, finishing second in the player-of-the season vote.
Tough, uncompromising, surprisingly speedy and a leader. Everything that was so badly needed after that awful day at Millwall.
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