Canaries debate: Incomings and outgoings - what will Norwich City do in January

Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke during the Sky Bet Championship match at Ewood Park, Blackburn
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Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke could be on the lookout for a new left-back in January. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

In our weekly Monday Q&A, our Canaries correspondent Connor Southwell answers questions asked by City supporters on social media.  

Q: Where do Norwich City need to strengthen in January? (@karlos6666 on Twitter) 

A: There are two answers to this question I think. What I think Norwich City need to do and what I feel they will do in the upcoming window.  

So, I'll answer the latter first. Clearly, having a central midfielder playing as a left-back isn't ideal. I think the club will be keen to address that in January, especially given Xavi Quintilla's injury has questioned whether they can trust him physically.  

Financially, I think the fans return has boosted them and that unexpected revenue stream will allow them to dip their feet back into the market, but with the dimensions of Brexit - I can see a situation where they decide to recruit another left-back on loan with a view to buy dependant on promotion.  

Perhaps a deal to similar to when they signed Moritz Leitner on loan. He was somebody out of the picture at Augsburg but somebody deemed too expensive to buy originally. That could be a situation City look to replicate again.  

It’s also worth noting that Sam Byram is set to return in January. He’s currently back running and that is a stage he has been unable to progress from so far. If he gets back to full fitness, then City have their Premier League left-back back in contention. That might mean they decide to do no business at all.  

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Barring any major injury to one of their central defenders, I think that will be about it. City are pretty well-stocked beyond that. You have to think they won't get struck by the same injury curse as they have so far this season.  

Q: With the uncertainty over Quintilla's injury, do you see McCallum being recalled in Jan or another left-back coming in? (@Kenty1985) 

A: I don't see McCallum coming back. Simply because he is being exposed to regular football at Coventry - he's played 14 out of 18 games - and is playing at the highest level of football in his career to date.  

Plus, Mark Robins is someone the Canaries hierarchy really admire and trust, particularly when it comes to the development of their players. Robins' style is relatively comparable to Farke's philosophy, so City are pleased with that.  

There is also the long-term debate: do you recall him knowing that Quintilla could be fit at any moment and then he spends half a season as a back-up or allow him to continue his development on loan. I think they really value that loan move for him.  

With that context, I expect Norwich to head back into the market for a loan left-back option. Maybe with a view to buy. But a frontline option that can compete with Quintilla. In which case, if the Spaniard overtakes them, happy days. If not, then they another real quality option available to them.  

Q: With places, 1 to 6 all looking close and teams swapping positions constantly each week, how far into the season till we start to see teams pulling away at the top/dropping off? (@WilburFilm on Twitter) 

A: Good question. I think the Christmas period will help sort the contenders from those who don’t quite have enough to compete for the automatics. Data suggests that the division usually equals itself out, so there will be a natural drop off but it’s hard to see when that will come and for what teams.  

The Championship schedule is so condensed that losing a game can see a side slip down the table at present. That is the result of having a league without a runaway leader, the table becomes more congested and the margins shrink.  

In weeks to come, teams in and around the top six will compete. They will take points off each other some will fare better than others. City have too much quality not to be involved at the upper end of the division, with players also returning from injury, things feel rosier.  

They can only concentrate on themselves and keep producing results. They are currently on the two-point per game average often deemed intrinsic to winning promotion. If they keep doing that, others will slip up around them.  

Q: I reckon there's more chance of incomings than outgoings. Will there be interest in Cantwell and Buendia during the upcoming window? (Graham Hayan on Facebook)  

A: As was the case with the summer, Norwich will be bracing themselves for interest. One thing is for certain, the agent-led speculation will be there again.  

The difference this time is that City have a stronger hand. If they can stay at the top of the tree heading into January, then the Premier League begins to come into view. That will focus minds on the task at hand rather than the allure of the top-flight.  

Contrary to reports, neither player was the subject of any bid. Should Fulham decide to go further than the enquiry they made in the summer for Cantwell, then City can make the case that the sides could be swapping divisions in a few months.  

So much hard work has gone on behind the scenes to get those players back in the boat, to coin a Timm Klose phrase. Both players were dizzy after the pushing and pulling of the recent window. Unless a side with significant resource and will rocks up willing to depart to mega cash for Buendia, then the likelihood is that he remains a City player until the summer at least.  

The current form is helping to focus minds. The Premier League is touchable now providing they continue to work hard. Everything else will take care of itself. If they have good representatives around them, they will be stating that as well.  

If a major bid was received, then City would listen. As they always would. Is it likely? I would argue it’s less likely than the summer, given a sale would be a major act of self-harm and would force City to head back into the market. But you never know in football.  

As an aside, it’s worth noting the transfer market is on its knees after Covid, so what may have been deemed an acceptable fee a year ago has now subsequently decreased to suit the value of the current market. That doesn’t mean it will be easier to get those two out of Carrow Road, though.  

Q: January sales approaching any news on that front? What positions do you think we should strengthen if at all? Demarai Grey is available I think he's worth a punt if the money is right. We need a bit more pace in my opinion, given the long-term injury to Hernandez (Kevin Yarham, Facebook) 

A: The two major frontrunners in terms of exits would be the banished two in Josip Drmic and Moritz Leitner. I don’t think either is likely, frankly. If I had edge towards one, then Drmic would probably be more likely on the basis that strikers are sought after in the winter window.  

Leitner will prove difficult to shift in the next window. I think a club in England would take a punt on Drmic, he’s been nothing but professional despite the outburst on social media as he disputed some of Farke’s comments. He asked to go home when the second lockdown was introduced as he was living alone in Norfolk and wasn’t in contention to be picked.  

Unless a big club fancied Buendia or Aarons, then I can’t see much happening on the outgoing front. Maybe a few loans get re-jigged (Sebastian Soto in particular) and a few more loans get added, but I think it will be a quiet January.  

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