Paddy Davitt: A transfer window but not as we know it
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
Something curious is happening with Norwich City and the transfer window this summer. Yet Paddy Davitt gets the clear sense that suits most supporters.
There may still be a Ricky van Wolfswinkel moment. But you get the distinct sense Norwich City fans do not crave one.
Daniel Adshead was unveiled on Tuesday to a warm reaction from supporters who see in the teenage midfield prospect another link in the chain at the core of the philosophy shaped by Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke.
Adshead has the pedigree but he will need to pass through a finishing school at Colney before he is ready to make his mark, in the manner Max Aarons or Jamal Lewis have achieved.
There may even be a loan move or two along the way. Such is the importance placed on toughening up precocious prospects under this regime.
Norwich's only other transfer business, since sealing promotion to the Premier League, has been a season-long deal for Manchester City's Patrick Roberts. There will be more where that came from before the curtain rises at Anfield on August 9.
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Perhaps even Liverpool's next generation will be raided to find another gem or two to embellish a squad too good for the Championship and now offered the chance to prove they belong in the top flight.
Aston Villa have already embarked on a lavish spending spree. Plenty of other Premier League rivals are shopping in a market with mind boggling zeros to the price tags. But Norwich will plot a different course.
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Partly out of financial necessity - for all the lazy suggestions that come with a naïve belief the Canaries' coffers are now awash with many millions of pounds. Partly because of a faith in youth, allied to clever recruitment, which helped pull off the greatest of Championship heists.
The messaging has been consistent throughout from Webber and Farke.
Even in the warm afterglow of those epic trophy celebrations a realism had already settled.
Cast your minds back to the summer of 2013, when a tanned, smiling Dutchman with a prolific goalscoring record in Portugal was holding a Norwich scarf above his head at Carrow Road.
The scale of the deal that brought van Wolfswinkel to England was meant to be a statement of intent; a visible symbol Norwich could now start to compete at the top table for the very best talent.
In hindsight you can question the recruitment decision, van Wolfswinkel's inability to adapt or Chris Hughton's apparent unwillingness to mould a side around a club record signing to maximise his goalscoring threat.
The move proved an unmitigated disaster on every level. Spending on such a scale offers no guarantee of success. Fulham found that out to their cost this time last summer.
Norwich fans appear genuinely happy to welcome players like Roberts and Adshead to the club; young talent which can be hot-housed under Farke's innovative coaching.
Whilst the affection shown to the growing number of current players, who have been rewarded for their service, since Aston Villa is another astute strand to Webber's work.
From Timm Klose to Kenny McLean and all ports in between the rollout of longer term deals is a signal to those players as much as the fans there is something special happening in these parts.
There is also a pragmatism to such contractual agreements, particularly with the club's finest young talent, that insulates Norwich from unwanted attention should the likes of Arrons, Lewis or Ben Godfrey continue to blossom.
Godfrey is tipped to follow suit and sign an extended deal in the coming days. When it is this good players of all ages want to be a part of the journey.
Webber reiterated recently protecting that team spirit, that strong bond, which carried Farke's squad to the big time, is more important that sourcing the wrong characters for astronomical sums.
"If we go and sign a player and give him substantially more than the other lads that could divide our dressing room. We can't do that," he said, speaking at Colney earlier this summer.
"We spent a lot of time here creating spirit, culture and togetherness.
"In one fell swoop we could kill that. We have lost players this window already because they don't fit into what we want to do. Okay, so you are not for us. The collective is much more important.
"Unless you can sign (Lionel) Messi or Mo Salah, who would produce every week, the difference between our players and a lot of others is not that different, in terms of attitude and quality.
"I don't know the ins and outs at Fulham this past year but it is a great reminder for clubs like ourselves that you can spend £100m and look what happens. It really helps us because people don't want to do that.
"It is about being smart, brave and backing this group. The majority of this group deserve a crack at it. I believe we have players who are good enough to be in the Premier League."
New players will arrive but only if they integrate on and off the park; only if they make sense on the balance sheet and the football pitch.
That is why this far into the summer, with pre-season on the horizon in a couple of weeks, there is no trace of unease or growing panic at the relative lack of tangible transfer activity.