Key City recruitment chief on 'lack of ambition' jibes

Milot Rashica was Norwich City's headline summer signing

Milot Rashica was Norwich City's headline summer signing - Credit: Tony Thrussell/Archant

Norwich City do not 'lack ambition' for one of Stuart Webber’s key recruitment aides, Mariela Nisotaki. 

The highly-respected analyst is now the Canaries’ head of emerging talent, since Kieran Scott's summer departure prompted a revamp, with a responsibility to scour markets at home and abroad to identify young prospects. 

City expect a quiet January window, after a record close-season outlay Norwich’s sporting director Webber put in the region of £70m, signing a number of players including Milot Rashica and loan duo Mathias Normann and Ozan Kabak. 

But Nisotaki, who has recently returned from a fact-finding mission to south America, reiterated top flight survival is still the goal. 

“I don’t think saying the club lacks ambition is the right thing to say,” she said. “This club is very ambitious. We want to improve, we need to, we aim to 100pc. We are trying to do it in our way.

"Maybe it is not the common way, the one that many other clubs operate, and so some translate it as a lack of ambition. It is a different way as a self-funded club, trying to play with younger players.

"But that sometimes means when you play with younger players they come with mistakes, but everyone here is working to establish this club in the Premier League. That is our target.”   

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City were one of the first English clubs to navigate the post-Brexit rules on recruiting European based players 12 months ago, with an initial loan deal for Dimitris Giannoulis. 

Nisotaki, interviewed on the Training Ground Guru podcast, insists that remains a viable market.   

Mariela Nisotaki has worked in Norwich City's recruitment set up since 2017

Mariela Nisotaki has worked in Norwich City's recruitment set up since 2017 - Credit: Norwich City FC

“It does have an impact. Across football we probably haven’t seen the full impact but it will change things,” she said. “We want to see it as an opportunity. It closes some markets, where we used to recruit, but opens up others, for example, south America. 

"Also with the younger ages you have to look at the whole picture. Sometimes you might be able to appeal when they are under 21. We have to be open minded and creative in what we are doing. Is the player in the national set up, have they any senior minutes?  

“But it is not like before when most where eligible to come. We actually saw it coming and were preparing for this. It wasn’t a case in one transfer window suddenly everything changed.

"That is why we started the process of scouting north and south America, but the top five leagues in Europe is still a big target for us, plus the international competitions. Europe is still the biggest market, but you have to adapt.”