Webber defends City's summer recruitment

Christos Tzolis and Josh Sargent were two of Norwich City's summer imports

Christos Tzolis and Josh Sargent were two of Norwich City's summer imports - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Stuart Webber remains convinced Norwich City’s epic player trading this summer is not only good for the balance sheet, but also the Canaries’ Premier League survival hopes. 

The club record sale of Emi Buendia, following on from the previous departures of Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis, saw City post a pre-tax profit in the latest set of published accounts. 

That despite a £30m Covid hole in lost revenue from over an entire season without Carrow Road full houses, and a £70m splurge on transfers, loans and potential add ons in the summer. 

“The facts are we have been very ambitious, compared to our competitors, and at the minute we are under-achieving,” said Webber. “Selling Emi when we did helped us do a lot of work in the summer, as much as we did not want to lose a good player. I have spoken about this before.

"When someone tells you very clearly he will not be playing for the club again then it has to be, ‘Okay, see you later mate, we do not need you. Thank you very much.’ No one is bigger than the football club. 

"But two years ago, we did not have a go. We made a very conscious decision and we were honest about that. We said we would use the money to help build our infrastructure to look much more like a Premier League club because, at that point, it looked closer to League One than the Premier League. 

"There is not one regret within that. Two years ago everyone is saying we needed to be more like Sheffield United. I am not sure people would say that today, because they stayed up for a season.

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"Huddersfield, stayed up for a season. We were we were not willing to go all in just to try and survive for one year. 

"Two years ago we were miles off, we were not good enough. And I know people can look at the performances at the minute and go, ‘Well, it does not look much difference,’ and I probably sound like an idiot. But this time around the approach we took in the transfer market was very different. We have got a squad together full of internationals.

"We have got good staff and a good coach and more than a good chance of getting out of this. We recruited heavily in the summer and that takes time to gel. Let us not kid ourselves to do the amount of churn we did to the squad, which is certainly big by our standards, can take a bit of time to gel together." 

NCFC Extra: Norwich City Q&A

The Premier League table paints a grim picture at present, while the lack of league starts for Milot Rashica and Christos Tzolis, or the lack of league goals for Josh Sargent, have already prompted some to question Webber’s recruitment. 

“If people want to say that I do not think it is harsh, but I definitely think it's too early,” said City’s sporting director. “All three of them have come from foreign countries. One of them is 19. Another one is 21. These are young players. Normally we have our 19 year olds on loan in League One or lower. 

"To expect Christos to be playing every week in the Premier League, he was not bought for that. He has incredible potential, and potential needs time to nurture itself. Can he come through and make a big impact this season? Yes, but that is not an expectation on him and the price tag on him is not his fault. That should not bring any more pressure on him.  

“In terms of Josh, it is tough being a striker for our team at the minute because we have had so many games where we have not had much of the ball. I challenge any striker in the world to have played up front for us against Chelsea, and show anything more than what Teemu (Pukki) and Josh did. 

"It is too early to tell, but it is also not unfair to ask.

"There is not one player, one staff member who can, in my opinion, go to sleep at night and say I have done my bit, I have cracked it. If that was the case we would be better than where we are. And we have to get better.”