Connor Southwell: Could this be a transfer window of opportunity for City?

Norwich City Sporting Director Stuart Webber watches on with Neil Adams during the Pre-season friend

Norwich City head of recruitment Kieran Scott (left) and sporting director Stuart Webber may find themselves in a transfer window of opportunity this summer. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Transfer windows are always incredibly frenetic and dizzying periods in the calendar and, whether you love them or hate them, it's hard to ignore the sound of the rumour mill gathering speed.

We've already seen Norwich City get linked to several players this week alone. It opens your horizons to players that otherwise would have remained unfamiliar and leaves some surfing the web to uncover a two-minute highlight reel of their ability on YouTube. 

That sense of chaos is radiated outside of the inner working sanctum in football because it is felt inside, perhaps typified, or rather broadcast, by Sunderland's Netflix documentary and the last-ditch decision to throw cash at signing an additional striker on Deadline Day. 

Under Stuart Webber's leadership, Norwich have been a contrast to that. They have acted with far more consideration in their approach to securing new additions. 

Perhaps that is graphically illustrated by the loan deals for Ben Gibson and Dimitris Giannoulis that will see the Canaries sign them permanently this summer. They are constantly working ahead of themselves and contingency planning in a way that enables them to be aggressive and decisive in the market. 

In terms of resource, City have to use creativity to uncover talent in pools where their competitors may not be searching. See Emi Buendia as a reference for that.

Their success rate has been impressive considering the modest size of their recruitment department in terms of staff, and they've brought some insanely talented prospects who have enriched Daniel Farke's desired philosophy on the pitch. 

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Norwich have always distanced themselves from praise that suggests their recruitment policy relies solely on data. They insist the more traditional methods of scouting also help inform their recruitment decisions. 

But targets are initially flagged up using metrics, the rest is then done by video, as has largely been the case during the pandemic, or in-person scouting. Whatever methods they deploy, City are clearly making it a success of it. 

Given the circumstances of the world currently, the financial effects may create a market that presents City with numerous opportunities, both in terms of incomings and outgoings. 

Webber has spoken at length previously about the need for the club to operate differently, purely because of their relative lack of finance compared to their competitors, especially in the Premier League. 

Patrick Roberts of Derby County and Dimitris Giannoulis of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Cham

Patrick Roberts of Derby County and Dimitris Giannoulis of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Championship match at Pride Park Stadium, Derby Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 10/04/2021 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Talent is everywhere. And City may discover that players who have more of it available for cheaper this summer than they would have been in previous windows. 

Norwich's recruitment net is far-reaching. But this summer, their incoming business will be looking to exploit those clubs that are ripe for picking. Covid means some clubs will be forced to part with their best players in order to fill financial holes and balance the books. 

The key to City's recruitment is being ahead of the curve and reacting quicker than other clubs should a potential deal arise. 

France is a country that City are monitoring with interest. The combination of the health crisis and a collapsed TV deal means it will be an attractive market for clubs looking to sign talented players for a lower fee. 

The standard of Serie A has made that a stronger market for Premier League clubs. The quality has risen and often produces the style of player top-flight teams require. Other markets such as Belgium and the Netherlands will also offer value due to the financial ramifications of Covid.

All will be watched with interest by the Canaries. 

There's no denying that Brexit will also have an impact. City have already been through the process of getting a player through the various steps of a work permit when they recruited Giannoulis in January. They will be ahead of a number of clubs on that front. 

It does narrow the pool of talent available to English clubs. Players like Teemu Pukki, Christoph Zimmermann and Marco Stiepermann would all have been rejected for work permits under the new system. 

That may have a positive impact on City's attempts to keep their best talent because, whilst the market suffers from a natural deflation due to Covid, there will be a premium on standout domestic players. In turn, that may create a scenario where more clubs from home join the race for the same player. 

Take the speculation surrounding Max Aarons as an example, ignore for one minute the truth behind it, but links suggesting West Ham and Everton are interested illustrate that point. Norwich may be able to create a 'bidding war' for their talent this summer.

Max Aarons of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Kiyan Prince Foundation

Max Aarons' future will be speculated about this summer.

Equally, that could lend itself to young players being granted loans higher up the pyramid than 12 months ago. EFL clubs, as City have experienced, have seen several doors shut in their face after the changes in regulations that came into force in January.  

Despite the South American market being touted as one which possesses plenty of value and being opened up due to Brexit, the difficulty of signing a player from that continent remains due to complex agents and ownership rules. There are also struggles in terms of due diligence and character observation at present. 

City have been working on that region for over two years, but in remains unlike, at least in the short term, that talent will arrive at Colney after playing in the Copa Libertadores.

Equally, City have conducted work in a range of areas from the MLS to parts of Asia. Their net is cast far and wide. 

The feeling inside football is that this may be one of the driest windows in history, both in terms of the volume of deals and transfer fees. But that state of flux may well help City in their quest for Premier League survival.

Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Kiyan Prince Foundation

Daniel Farke will be hoping to lead Norwich City to survival in the top-flight this time. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Many inside the club will be excited to head into a transfer window that may possess more opportunities to recruit exciting talent for a season geared towards survival in the knowledge that they this current window may be better for them to navigate.

The acceptance from Webber was that the recruitment left Farke short during their relegation campaign last year, there is a serious determination to put that right. The wheels are already in motion.

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