Has Norwich City’s January spending been enough for a play-off push?
PUBLISHED: 09:59 04 February 2017
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With a significant net profit over this transfer window the board will be pleased to see some relief for the club’s financial position, but what fans will want to know is whether January’s transactions have provided sufficient impetus to an underperforming squad.
On the surface the replacement of two highly experienced internationals by a left back deemed surplus to requirements at Ajax and a player who is only now starting to make an impact on the Championship having failed to tear up any trees with Middlesbrough would seem to suggest that cost-cutting has triumphed over on field ambition, but I think that it would be premature to draw that conclusion.
Although I won’t pretend to have known too much about either player before they signed, my research since suggests that both will add significant muscle to a side that has been bullied far too often this season.
Mitchell Dijks has much in common with Martin Olsson in that he seems very happy going forward and has a good delivery, and at well over six foot he is the proverbial “big unit” who can play centrally as well as on the left.
Yanic Wildschut, on the other hand, isn’t a like-for-like replacement for Robbie Brady. He seems to be a genuine winger with an eye for goal, and another significant physical presence.
Although he operates on the left, a quick look at his goals over the last couple of seasons reveals that most were scored with his right foot, including some pretty impressive long-range strikes.
I have seen some moans about Dijks coming on loan, but realistically this is a player who has his sights set on the Premier League, hence his original rejection of City’s overtures, but Alex Neil deserves credit for refusing to take no for an answer.
By signing him in this way City’s financial commitment is much lower, the player gets to see what the club is all about and in the event of City going up one hopes that there is a clause in the deal that would give them first refusal on a permanent signing. Everybody wins.
The departure of Sergi Canos, on the other hand, looks horribly like another recruitment team failure.
Whilst I accept that he has been marginalised by the emergence of Jacob Murphy, the fact that he has hardly figured on the bench suggests deeper issues and I will be interested to see what impact he makes at Brentford.
Overall, while I would like to have seen more dead wood moved on and another centre back brought in to the club, I don’t think City have had a particularly bad transfer window, given that Timm Klose is still at the club, but they desperately need the new players to start making an impact as soon as possible.
With the transfer window over it is now clear that Alex Neil is in post for the rest of the season and therefore, whatever people’s views on him – and mine have been well documented and remain unchanged – it is important that we all now pull together to try to ensure that this season ends as successfully as possible.
Whether the departure of Jez Moxey, who won’t be missed by many fans, will hinder or help that process remains to be seen, but it’s yet another indication that Norwich City isn’t a happy ship at the moment.
However, it’s on the pitch not in the boardroom that promotion will be won or lost, and now it’s time for the players to give something back to the fans who have stuck with them through so many sub-par away performances.
Two wins against Cardiff and Wigan would really reignite City’s play-off hopes, but we have been here before only to be disappointed. If City are to make a move they have to start winning consistently on the road and today is a perfect time to start.