Norwich City aren't expected to spend much money this summer, but there's a reason they're forking out for Jose Cordoba.

The Panama international defender is both a convenient and exciting signing for the Canaries, for whom the recruitment of a left-sided centre-back was a significant priority.

In the absence of the released Ben Gibson and with an increasing need for left footers to play that role, he makes perfect sense for Johannes Hoff Thorup's possession-based system. In Bulgaria, where he made his name with Levski Sofia, Cordoba is known for his work on the ball, with the ability to find searching passes forward and drive into the opposition half.

"We improved his confidence on the ball," said former Levski assistant Tsanko Tsvetanov to The Sun, as he lauded the potential of his once-charge. "Jose is a player who will be aiming to play in the Premier League in England. If he develops the way he has, I believe he will."

Not all of that quality is on the ball, however, with Cordoba representing an imposing physical figure. He's a handy six-foot-one, exactly the same height as Gibson. He's also bulked up since moving to Sofia, where he first gained consistent game time after a disappointing spell with Celta Vigo in Spain.

His once-defensive partner Kellian van der Kaap talked up those attributes when he spoke to the Daily Record, saying: "Jose’s a very talented player. 

"He’s a modern centre-back — fast, good height, good speed, comfortable with the ball, and he’s left-footed, which is not so easy to find at centre-back. He has all the requirements to go to the next level."

Cordoba also has a decent number of games under his belt for someone aged just 23, with 130 first-team outings already. For context, Jonathan Tomkinson is less than a year younger and has 36, while 21-year-old Jaden Warner has only 13.

That age is another clear strength, especially given Ben Knapper's mission to make City's squad look much younger during the transfer window. The former Arsenal loans manager's admission that "we feel he still has big steps in his development to come" is a pointed one, and the imperative on improvement is undoubtable.

"Under Johannes’ guidance, along with the rest of our staff, we feel sure we can help him achieve his potential," Knapper continued in the club's official statement.

The step from Bulgaria to the high-paced English second division is a big one, and there will be some adaptation needed. Tsvetanov has discussed the defender's willingness to learn, and given Thorup's track record for working with young players the recipe is an exciting one.

The ability to play at left-back is another string to Cordoba's bow, especially as Norwich search for one this summer. Ex-Nordsjaelland free agent Martin Frese is a target, and many others have been tracked, but extra cover in a position that's looking extremely thin on the ground will always be welcome.

The Pink Un: Ben Knapper (right) has talked up Cordoba's potentialBen Knapper (right) has talked up Cordoba's potential (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

City's first signing of the summer will soon head off to the Copa America, and that means there may be a slight delay in fans' eagerly anticipated first meeting. But being at that tournament alone speaks to the calibre of player their club has signed.

It likely won't be smooth sailing all the way through. Much like the Thorup project as a whole, there's great potential seen but patience may be required.

Nonetheless, City's willingness to pay a fee for Cordoba, which won't be happening much this season, tells you how highly they rate him. The fact they fought off competition from Glasgow Rangers and others makes things look even better on paper.  There's excitement on the player's side, too, having said in a recent interview that he was joining a "good project" and that he was "very happy".

As always, the proof will be in the pudding and on the Carrow Road pitch. But it's hard to deny that the early signs are encouraging.