There is so much speculation and energy spent on recruitment during transfer windows, but another key pillar to Ben Knapper's Norwich City strategy will be about managing the squad already at his disposal. 

As it stands, all of City's squad are contracted between a four-year period, with only six players possessing contracts beyond the summer of 2026. 

With the want of a squad refresh and willingness to strategise long-term, that will be something on Knapper's to-do list as he attempts to provide Johannes Hoff Thorup with sufficient ammunition for the future. 

The vast majority of those contracts will have been awarded to players during Stuart Webber's tenure as sporting director. Knapper will be hoping to make his own mark in this particular area. 

- Here is the current state of play regarding the contractual status of Norwich City's squad

Angus Gunn has entered the final 12 months of his Norwich City deal.Angus Gunn has entered the final 12 months of his Norwich City deal. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)


Players out of contract: (* means option of a further year) Jon Rowe*, Angus Gunn, George Long, Christian Fassnacht*, Jacob Sorensen*, Grant Hanley, Onel Hernandez*, Abu Kamara*, Ashley Barnes*, Brad Hills*, Lewis Shipley, Archie Mair*, Guilherme Montoia*, Jaden Warner

As things currently stand, Norwich have a whopping 14 players entering the final 12 months of their respective deals, ranging from experienced professionals to highly-rated young talent. 

Despite the relative insecurity that poses, Norwich are aided by the fact that nine of them, including Jon Rowe, Abu Kamara, and Brad Hills, possess options for a further year. 

That context will be key to whether City decide this summer is the best time to maximise the value of winger Rowe. 

There has been a reluctance to sign a fresh deal at Carrow Road, and with growing interest after an impressive breakthrough campaign last term, this may be the moment for Norwich to cash in on the winger. Any sale would represent pure profit and prevent the club from repeating the Todd Cantwell episode. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Knapper will be left with decisions to make on club captain Grant Hanley, Ashley Barnes and Onel Hernandez with the latter two possessing an option in the club's favour of a further year. 

Both of City's senior goalkeepers, Angus Gunn and George Long, are among those who would currently be free to walk away from the club next summer - with Archie Mair, who extended his deal earlier this summer, also out of contract. 

Signing Gunn, City's first-choice, to a new deal would be a real statement of intent, but he joined Norwich when they were in the Premier League on a wage likely to reflect that. That is the challenge the club have in trying to sign them for the future.

Building a new wave of contracts to insulate the club moving forward will be part of Knapper's strategy as he seeks to add, strengthen and alter the squad.

Some of the decisions will likely hinge on City's financial situation, whilst others may accelerate the need for action this summer, either rewarding talent with new deals or cashing in before their value depreciates further. 

It will be a situation that Knapper is alive to, and talks will have already started with the relevant parties about seeking to address it promptly. 

Borja Sainz is contracted to Norwich City until 2026.Borja Sainz is contracted to Norwich City until 2026. (Image: Andy Sumner/Focus Images Ltd)


Players out of contract: Tony Springett*, Gabriel Sara*, Jack Stacey, Marcelino Nunez, Jack Stacey, Borja Sainz, Shane Duffy, Kenny McLean*, Dan Barden

This group of City stars naturally have more security, but like the cohort of players before them, the light on the dashboard will begin to alert Knapper to their respective situations - particularly those like Sainz and Nunez at their respective ages. 

If Sainz can hit the performance levels that many hope for in the upcoming campaign, then that situation might need to be revisited swiftly for City to protect that particular asset. 

Sara has a year in his favour, which would help City maximise his value this summer should any interested parties present themselves. The security of talent like Stacey and McLean will offer stability for Thorup in the early stages of his reign. 

There are other interesting case studies in this year group of contractees, like McLean and Duffy, both of who will be over 33 by the end of the 2024/25 season. Experience is vital, but their respective wages will be denting the playing budget should promotion not be achieved this season - that is why the Rangers interest in the Scot may be appealing on one level to the Canaries.

But the quantity of players who have entered their final two years mean City's additions to the squad probably need to be targeted away from this particular cycle in order to balance the group more sufficiently. 

Ken Aboh ended months of speculation to sign a new contract at Carrow Road last week.Ken Aboh ended months of speculation to sign a new contract at Carrow Road last week. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)


Players out of contract: Jose Cordoba, Kellen Fisher, Ken Aboh*

The two key bits of their summer business to date have involved bolstering this 12-month cycle of their contract groups. 

Jose Cordoba joined from Levski Sofia and was handed a three-year deal. That security would have been an integral part of the package to bring the Panamanian international to Norfolk ahead of Rangers and others on the continent. 

Then, it was the deal that saw Ken Aboh commit his future to City despite months of speculation. Norwich felt the offer represented the highest that the teenager would attract at this stage of his career and was a clear indication of how highly he is rated internally. 

Kellen Fisher is another Norwich signed with a hat tip to the long term; a decision will need to be taken on whether the right-back heads out on loan this summer to expose him to further game time. 

The pattern in all six of those contracted beyond the next two years are that they are all under the age of 24. 

Josh Sargent has plenty of years to run on his Norwich City contract.Josh Sargent has plenty of years to run on his Norwich City contract. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)


Players out of contract: Josh Sargent, Adam Idah and Liam Gibbs

Norwich made a significant effort last summer to tie down the futures of both Sargent and Gibbs in recognition of their efforts so far, but equally to commit themselves to their respective development. 

Long-term contracts are also recognition of the club's desire to retain talent for a significant period whilst protecting their value should they kick on. 

The work to sign Idah to a lengthy contract came earlier in 2023 and was met with some raised eyebrows at the time. His loan spell at Celtic proved the qualities that he has in the right conditions. 

When it comes to the Irishman, that contract has added a strength to City's negotiating position this summer with Celtic keen to convert that loan into a permanent deal. 

This season will be an important one for Gibbs to get back on track after a year of playing outside of his natural central midfield position under David Wagner last term.

The deal to tie Sargent down to a five-year contract last summer looks increasingly astute after his output of 16 goals in 26 games last season. It will be a group that Knapper will want to add with the right talent in the future.