Farke explains why Leitner and Drmic won’t be returning to his City squad despite injury problems
Daniel Farke has no intention of bringing Josip Drmic or Moritz Leitner in from the cold at Norwich City, despite the injury crisis threatening his team’s good progress in the Championship.
Both players, alongside Tom Trybull prior to his Blackburn loan, were not given squad numbers following Premier League relegation and were told to find new clubs as the Canaries revamped their squad.
The former Bundesliga players didn’t find new clubs before the transfer window closed, despite playing for City’s U23s to keep sharp, with Drmic scoring two goals for the youngsters. Now they are both looking to secure moves in the January transfer window.
Asked about whether Leitner and Drmic could return, Farke said: “Legally, yes (they can be registered with the EFL), but we won’t do this because it’s not a topic right now. We had to make a decision, it was not like we had this decision this summer because they were poor players or something like this.
“No we totally believe, Moritz had a great time in his first two years and I also personally always believed in the potential of Josip, for example. It was also no coincidence for me that he had big money moves in Germany to clubs live Leverkusen and Gladbach, Dortmund was interested, he nearly won the Golden Boot in Germany (in 2014).
“But he had an unbelievably unlucky last season, many injuries and then he came back more or less with his first appearance in the starting line-up, I think there were five appearances after lockdown, and he was not really able to use his chance.
“We lost all the games when he was in the starting line-up and he got lots of hits from many people, from the press, from supporters. We are not searching for excuses, he also played his part with his red card (against Burnley) and things like this.
“For me he was always a top class striker and a good guy but we made the decision in the summer that we need a fresh start and that we wanted to bring in some fresh legs and fresh energy, some positive changes and we decided to back Adam Idah and bring Jordan Hugill in.”
Farke is likely to have academy players on his bench at Stoke on Tuesday night due to a minimum of nine players being out through injury, including Kenny McLean being ruled out for at least six weeks with a knee injury and fellow central midfielder Lukas Rupp being a doubt with a tight hamstring.
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While up front Teemu Pukki is the only fit recognised striker, with Adam Idah last week ruled out until February by a knee injury and Jordan Hugill out for at least three weeks after hurting his shoulder during the 1-0 win at Middlesbrough which sent the Canaries to the top of the table on Saturday.
Farke continued: “Yes, right now we have the situation where Adam Idah is sadly out long term and Jordan Hugill will also be out for probably about three weeks. If something sadly happens with Teemu Pukki and it is a long-term injury with Jordan Hugill, that he is out for 10 weeks, then of course we can potentially think about bringing Josip back in.
“But right now he has not trained for months with the first team so he doesn’t even know the lads like Oliver Skipp he has never even met Jacob Lungi Sorensen or Przemyslaw Placheta and all the other guys, so it makes no sense.
“Even if he did come back right now he would need two or three weeks in terms of training and this is exactly the timeframe when Jordan Hugill will hopefully be back.
“So we have at least the opportunity if there is a long-term injury for Teemu Pukki or Jordan Hugill to at least think about this solution but right now for us it is not a topic.”
Former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Leitner, 27, made a loan move from Augsburg permanent in the summer of 2018 and then played a major role in the Championship title success of 2018-19, but feel out of favour in the Premier League last season. He has scored twice in 53 games for City.
Switzerland international Drmic signed on a free transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2019 but his injury problems continued and he managed just two goals in 23 games, only six of which were starts - earning a reckless red card during a 2-0 home defeat to Burnley, with the Canaries already relegated.