Norwich City report card: Why Timm Klose still has plenty to smile about
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Timm Klose may have been edged out of top billing during the Canaries’ promotion run-in. But there is no doubt he can be a Premier League asset. Paddy Davitt looks at an eventful campaign.
There were notable success stories in Norwich City's Championship title winning season. Perhaps the odd one or two sour stories. And then there was Timm Klose's personal story.
When the Swiss international rose at the near post at Brentford, back on New Year's Day, to salvage a late point in a spirited rearguard action at Griffin Park, you would have got long odds that would be his last start of the campaign.
A knee problem diagnosed shortly afterwards may not have required surgery but it marked the end of frontline duty.
Ben Godfrey and Christoph Zimmermann grasped their unexpected opportunity to forge a formidable central defensive axis that anchored a remarkable title run-in.
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Klose went from being a vital defensive cog to a series of late cameos from the bench. But go back through all the pictures and the social media video swirling around Norwich's promotion-clinching home win over Blackburn or the title coronation at Villa Park or even the civic celebrations.
Right in the midst of all that euphoria was the beaming smile of Klose, that deliriously happy, infectious laugh. The 30-year-old looked as genuinely proud of the achievement as any of those who were at the sharp end in the defining phase of the campaign.
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That is why he remains such a hugely popular figure within the changing room and on the terraces at Norwich City.
But it is not just sentimentality fuelling a desire to see him remain at Carrow Road beyond the end of his contract, which officially ends next month. There is also a sense his composure in possession and vast experience, in comparison with the rest of Daniel Farke's defensive assets, can prove invaluable in the Premier League.
As if to underline the point, perhaps Klose's most eye-catching appearance over this past campaign came in the red shirt of Switzerland, rather than the Canaries, in a stunning Nations League comeback against World Cup semi finalists Belgium in November.
Trailing 2-0 at home, and with Klose earning a rare start for his country, they roared back to win 5-2.
Alas, a desire to let his knee fully recuperate over the close season has ruled the defender out of the Nations League finale next month, when the Swiss take on Portugal for the right to face either England or Holland.
But that pedigree demonstrates why Norwich is so keen to retain his services. Klose has made equally positive noises since the end of the campaign.
"That is the choice I would prefer," he said, speaking to the Swiss media earlier this week.
"The Premier League is the best league in the world and it would be great to return. But many other doors are also still open and I will give myself the time to make the best decision.
"There was really a great atmosphere this season here and a good level of play, and the coach and several players being a small clan of Germans within the team also brought a little something extra.
"The club is fit for the Premier League. The concern for football is that everything is governed by money, and it will take that to strengthen.
"The club will receive money but it is how to use it - and not like Fulham, who squandered it to buy players who did not make the difference."
There is much to recommend extending a tour of duty, which began when the Canaries were in the Premier League and acquired the Wolfsburg defender to try and keep them there, back in January 2016.
A knee injury would again intervene to halt Klose's impressive progress.
That afternoon when he hobbled off at Crystal Palace in early April was arguably the moment City's top flight fate was effectively sealed under Alex Neil.
You suspect Klose himself feels there is unfinished business. He was enticed to England to play in one of the best leagues in the world. Now he has another opportunity.
The challenge will be to try and dislodge Godfrey and Zimmermann. While Grant Hanley is another experienced international option at Farke's disposal.
But it needs that level of competition to drive Norwich on again in the big time.