Connor Southwell: City at a crossroad in search for new head coach

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard before the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

Frank Lampard has held talks over the vacancy at Norwich City. - Credit: PA

As the debate surrounding who the next Norwich City head coach will be continues, it feels like the club are at somewhat of a crossroad in their search for Daniel Farke's successor. 

City are still hopeful of announcing their next coach by the end of the weekend or the early part of next week, with Steve Weaver set to take the training sessions until a new man is in place.

At present, the conversation is revolving around three names: Frank Lampard, Dean Smith and Kjetil Knutsen. 

One represents a marked departure from what has gone before, one a continuation of a theme and the other feels somewhere between the two. 

Lampard's reputation precedes him. As a player, he won everything there is to win from a domestic perspective. As a coach, he has managed both Derby and Chelsea and only has two and a half years of experience in the dug-out. 

There is no denying it, it does feel quite jarring. But Norwich are in need of a shock.   

This is a marked change from what has gone before. This is a new direction. Lampard will come with so much baggage and media hysteria.  

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Back in 2019, Stuart Webber made these comments to MyFootballWriter about top players being handed coaching positions: 

"The coach education system in our country has improved a lot. I still think we hand out badges a bit easy though, and that if you’ve got a certain number of caps then people are in awe of you. 

"He must know what he’s talking about, he’s got 50 caps for his country’. In fact, he might not have a clue. I was fortunate to visit Red Bull recently and their Team Principal, Christian Horner, said most of their drivers don’t have a clue and you couldn’t put them in charge of a team. 

"But in football, everyone thinks, ‘he played, he was a top footballer, let’s put him in charge of 25 players, 30 staff - and he can deal with the media and the board.’ It’s actually a pretty tough job. 

If you immediately put Max Verstappen in charge of a Formula One team, with 300 staff, people would think you were crazy." 

Here we are, two years later - with a top ex-footballer heavily linked with the job. It may seem a contradiction, but it actually points to where the club currently exist. 

So what has changed? 

The situation is one. As outlined in the statement that announced Farke's departure from Carrow Road, it was made clear of their desire to remain in the Premier League.  

Lampard would change perceptions of both those inside Colney and the external media. It will naturally raise expectations. It will prompt a response from those in the dressing room.  

It will be viewed as an ambitious appointment. Forget his CV temporarily, this is someone who occupied the technical area at Stamford Bridge earlier this year.  

If appointed, it's understood that Lampard would bring current Chelsea coach Joe Edwards to Carrow Road as his assistant with Jody Morris, who was alongside him at Derby and Chelsea, keen to be a manager in his own right.

Most Canaries supporters have been looking at Knutsen - current coach of Norwegian champions Bodo/Glimt - as somebody who had the right feel about him. 

Knutsen, both his current location and pedigree, felt like it would appeal to the powers that be. 

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith speaks to the media after the Premier League match at Villa Park, Bir

Ex-Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has also been spoken to about the Norwich City vacancy. - Credit: PA

Under Webber, they've operated differently and shopped in markets in places that few would expect. They've plucked names from obscurity and provided them with opportunities. 

Knutsen's credentials and ability to coach a team are undeniable given his body of work at the Norwegian champions elect. 

His name brings about plenty of mystery. It felt very Norwich given everything that has come before. But maybe they don't want more of the same. Maybe that is what is makes Lampard such an intriguing and exciting option. 

Somewhere in the middle is Smith - a progressive, talented coach who would retain a lot of the positive practices whilst adding a touch of experience. 

Smith has managed more Premier League games than Lampard, steered his Aston Villa side to safety from a difficult position and oversaw a defensively sound side last season. 

Many will judge his time at his boyhood club based on the final weeks in post. But Smith inherited a Villa side sitting in midtable in the Championship and has returned their top-flight status and helped cement their place in the league. 

There are question marks surrounding Smith. But that is going to be the same whoever takes the job. 

It will be fascinating to see which direction Webber and City elect to take with their desire to remain in the top-flight. 

NCFC extra: Smith and Knutsen still in the City frame with Lampard – reports