David Freezer: Sensible exit of Marshall leaves Webber free to finalise City’s 25-man squad
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The time for transfer tinkering is starting to run out for Premier League clubs – but it looks unlikely there will be a need for any deadline day panic buys at Norwich City.
The time for transfer tinkering is starting to run out for Premier League clubs - but it looks unlikely there will be a need for any deadline day panic buys at Norwich City.
With the weekend announcement that Ben Marshall's contract has been cancelled three years early, by mutual consent, it seems transfer issues are largely settled. Could there be room for just one more though?
Marshall goes down as a transfer which really didn't work out, having been signed from promoted Wolves for £1.5million after an impressive loan stint at Millwall.
It was as a right-back where City hoped he could improve them though, rather than on the left wing, where he had spent the majority of his time with the Lions. Yet with the emergence of Max Aarons, it meant that after just five appearances Marshall found himself back at The Den.
So fair play to the 28-year-old for agreeing to leave now, after it was made clear he wouldn't be in contention again this season. With a contract until 2022 it's likely compensation would have been agreed but at least this way both parties can go their separate ways, rather than linger on a transfer which didn't work out.
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Hull and Sheffield Wednesday have already been linked but with his contract cancelled, it's one more issue off the mind of sporting director Stuart Webber.
Premier League clubs have to name a 25-man squad for the season and can't sign any players beyond the deadline of 5pm on Thursday, August 8 - although they can still sell and loan players out until 5pm on Monday, September 2.
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There is more to consider though. The limit for players who do not meet homegrown criteria within that 25 is 17, essentially creating a minimum of eight homegrown players within the official squad.
However, players under the age of 21 are available in addition to the 25-man squad. So Max Aarons doesn't have to be included in that 25, with PL rules stating U21 players for the 2019-20 season will have been born on or after January 1, 1998.
So let's move it along to the homegrown criteria, which is different to the Championship, where a minimum of seven homegrown qualified players have to be named in a matchday squad of 18.
Nationality or age doesn't matter, the criteria is for that the player was registered with an English or Welsh club "continuous or not, of three entire seasons, or 36 months, before his 21st birthday - or the end of the season during which he turns 21".
So that means Tim Krul qualifies, due to the Dutchman being with Newcastle at 18, and the same goes for Scottish defender Grant Hanley, who was with Blackburn at 18.
So City's current eight homegrown qualifiers: Krul, Hanley, Sam Byram, Ben Godfrey, Jamal Lewis, Louis Thompson, Todd Cantwell and Manchester City loanee Patrick Roberts - who has taken one of the two domestic loan slots allowed.
Which leaves 16 of the expected first team players who are not homegrown - and a potential hole for one more player to fill for that official PL squad.
That doesn't mean things are cut and dried, players could still leave if necessary but it's safe to say City fans already know there won't be too much more movement, Daniel Farke said as much himself after the Luton game. With all the new contracts given out during the off-season, Webber is very much living up to his word of keeping last season's squad mostly in tact.
The only exits from the Championship winning squad have been loanees Felix Passlack, who barely featured, and Jordan Rhodes returning to their parent clubs.
Rhodes would qualify as homegrown despite being a Scotland international, having come through the academy system at Ipswich, and it would still not be a surprise if he returned late in the window given his popularity last season.
Even that seems unlikely at this stage though, with Farke's squad looking settled and united, with a good mixture of youth and experience.
As things stand there are no out-of-favour players to disrupt the dressing room, whether intentionally or not. Nelson Oliveira was allowed to leave for AEK Athens, James Husband has joined Blackpool for the final year of his contract and Marcel Franke was sold to Hannover.
Ivo Pinto, Steven Naismith, Matt Jarvis and Yanic Wildschut were all let go at the end of their contracts as well, so a good chunk of money has been shifted from the wage bill.
Given promotion bonuses, transfer clauses and those deserved new contracts all proved rather costly, that was needed - and mixed with fresh top-flight income could just allow Webber to make a couple of late tweaks.
As Tettey and Thompson are both not involved during pre-season due to injuries, it's that defensive midfield position which looks most in need of consideration ahead of a difficult challenge.
As has been made very clear though, any additions will have to buy into the team spirit and collective desire which has brought the Canaries to their current position of strength.
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