"He has everything, in terms of the speed and power and endurance. Physically he is an unbelievable athlete. I see so many things in his game which excite me."

These were the words used by Norwich City head coach David Wagner to describe Przemyslaw Placheta after his match-winning display against Bristol City last month.

The Polish wide man had scored the game's only goal at Ashton Gate, as well as laying on a plate two chances Adam Idah will feel he should have scored. There was a considerable buzz around Placheta as he left the South West, and an uplift in expectations around his future.

And yet Placheta finds himself a clear second choice in the battle for a left-back starting berth at Carrow Road, at times even a third choice given Wagner's fluctuating view of Sam McCallum.

But what cannot be disputed is that he's firmly behind Dimitris Giannoulis in the pecking order, after a fine start to the season from the Greek international.

The Pink Un: Przemyslaw Placheta has impressed head coach David Wagner in recent weeks.Przemyslaw Placheta has impressed head coach David Wagner in recent weeks. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

In a squad often criticised for its apparent lack of depth, such competition for places should be a refreshing sight for observant Canaries fans. What lurks beneath the surface of that healthy exterior, however, is a problem looming closer on the yellow and green horizon.

All three left-back options' deals expire next summer, with June 30, 2024 a menacing D-day for the contractual situation in NR1.

Giannoulis' first permanent contract as a Norwich player is up on that date, as is the agreement McCallum signed in 2020 and Placheta's deal later that year. City stand to lose all of their current left-backs in just nine months' time.

The problem with that, of course, is the work this leaves for Stuart Webber and his successor, with up to three potentially complex negotiations needed in a relatively short space of time.

These things are constantly being monitored behind the scenes at Colney, but no talks are at an advanced stage and Giannoulis confirmed this summer that negotiations were not underway with him.

But there's also the consideration of what Norwich now stand to gain, with competition set to ramp up in the coming months.

It must be considered that Giannoulis has been the subject of interest from elsewhere, with both Dynamo and CSKA Moscow monitoring his situation during the transfer window. But the 27-year-old remains happy in Norfolk, and will want to preserve the life he enjoys in East Anglia.

For Placheta and McCallum, there's more impressing to do. The former may have delighted in that win over the Robins, but still has only two goals to his name more than three years after joining the club.

He's also just returned from a shin injury that kept him out for 10 months, and must prove his fitness can stand up to the Championship test of time.

McCallum has perhaps the most to prove, having failed to convince supporters of his ability to this day. After signing from Coventry City for an initial £1.5million nearly four years ago, he's not close to fulfilling the potential seen in him as a 19-year-old.

The Pink Un: Sam McCallum hasn't reached the potential seen in him when he signed nearly four years ago.Sam McCallum hasn't reached the potential seen in him when he signed nearly four years ago. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

He briefly ousted Giannoulis during Dean Smith's doomed City reign, and has thrived under Wagner on the rarest occasions. But Norwich fans remain sceptical as to what was seen in him when he wore Sky Blue, and will be so as chances fall by the wayside.

So Wagner's instinct will be to let battle commence, and to hope that the situation brings the best from three men with high ceilings.

For Giannoulis the task is to introduce consistency to the talent he's already shown. Placheta must work to squeeze his foot even further through the doorway. McCallum must remind City why they bought him in the first place.

Game time is always worth fighting for amongst footballers, but with futures to be decided in months if not weeks, this trio are battling for something even greater.