Matt Howman: West Ham can forget about getting James Maddison on the cheap
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What an awful weekend it’s been.
Crashing out of the cup after being outplayed by a spirited League One side and a player disgraced for spitting at an opponent. The team then back in training to prepare for a Tuesday league game and there’s still no chance of signing James Maddison on the cheap from Norwich. Poor David Moyes.
It’s been quite the opposite for Daniel Farke, a triple signing announcement during the week and three points taken away at Brentford, if Dennis Srbeny and Moritz Leitner can pitch in with a few goals then there’s a real danger that play-off talk may be back on the cards!
Maddison has again stolen the limelight but there was some other notable performances worth a mention; what a great stand-in display from Harrison Reed at right back and another consistent week of outstanding, effective defending by Grant Hanley. Week after week he has impressed with his vintage, no-nonsense approach. If he commits a few years to Norwich I could easily see him captaining the side.
But what a goal that was from Maddison. If Norwich are even considering cashing in while he is in top-form then £12m is far from what they should be asking for. There are so many nuances to a player transfer fee but with his best years ahead of him a £16-20m price tag would be a drop in the water for a Premier League club.
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After watching him play for the best part of six months, it’s not just his goal-scoring abilities which has drawn the attention. On the ball he has shown the ability to weave in and out of traffic on the pitch and create an attack in the same way that Wes Hoolahan has over the years, and there’s not much higher praise from a Norwich fan!
He has also had a hand in 13 of our meagre 29 goal haul this season. After heading into the season full of hope and optimism of challenging for the play-offs, our goal tally has been well below par. Mis-firing Nelson Oliveira has done Norwich no favours in recent weeks and the lack of options had left Norwich desperate for those transfers to get over the line.
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Looking at the transfer business so far I would expect that Steve Stone and Stuart Webber will be much happier with the balance sheet, hopefully relieving the pressure of needing to sell Maddison or any other player.
With Srbeny, Leitner and Hernandez coming in we may not have a vastly improved squad, however the added depth may prove to be key when we enter busy fixture periods.
Farke should also be pleased with the increased attacking options; adding competition for Oliveira can only be a good thing. The cynic in me says he might start getting worried about his appearance bonus and we could expect to see a rejuvenated player over the next few weeks, let’s watch this space.
I would be surprised to see any major business happening between now and deadline day. I’d love to see us take on board one of the England U23s on the fringes at their parent club and not getting game time but our strategy looks to be deeply entrenched within the German market, picking up players that are cost-effective and fit within the playing style that Farke is looking to employ.
I’ve been saying for weeks now that Josh Murphy is struggling to make any meaningful impact in a game. He still has potential however Hernandez coming in may strengthen that position. We have been seriously lacking in threat from the wing for a number of games now and I wonder if that may give us another option in the way we attack.
Norwich have been looking too predictable going forward for the most of the season now and to reach the play-offs it’s vital we find a way of averaging more than a single goal a game.