January hits and misses of Webber's reign at City

Ondrej Duda of Norwich has a shot on goal during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich
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Ondrej Duda was the headline signing of Norwich City's transfer window in January 2020 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Januarys have tended to be quieter than summer transfer windows during Stuart Webber’s reign at Norwich City – and haven’t always proven to be successful. 

With the Canaries expected to have a relatively quiet month after such a busy summer, in spite of their Premier League struggles, we’ve assessed the hits and misses of the previous four winter windows, sticking to first-team matters primarily. 

City's sporting director works closely with the head coach on all transfers and this month will be his first since Dean Smith replaced Daniel Farke in November.

JANUARY 2018 

Onel Hernandez – HIT 

Signed from Bundesliga Two side Eintracht Braunschweig for a reported £1.7million, the Cuban winger didn’t make an immediate impact but was a star of the 2018-19 Championship title win. Eleven goals in 107 games, two title medals, a Canaries tattoo and cult status among the fans – it's fair to say Hernandez proved worth the money. Currently on loan at Middlesbrough but under contract until 2023. 

Onel Hernandez of Norwich misses a golden opportunity during the Sky Bet Championship match at the K

Onel Hernandez during one of his early Norwich appearances, during a 4-3 loss at Hull - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Moritz Leitner – HIT 

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The former Borussia Dortmund and Germany Under-21 prospect arrived with an impressive CV, initially on loan from Augsburg. He did enough to persuade City to make that permanent in the summer for a reported £1.3m and starred, when fit, during successful 2018-19. Fell out of favour under Farke though and his contract was cancelled by mutual consent last summer after two goals in 53 appearances - but had the ability to be a key man. Now plays in Switzerland for FC Zurich. 

Dennis Srbeny – MISS 

Tall striker had nine goals in 15 games for Paderborn in the German third tier and arrived for a reported £1.3m but rarely got a chance to impress before returning to Paderborn for a similar fee in January 2020. Five goals in 43 matches but just seven league starts. 

Marcus Edwards – MISS 

Remember him? Highly-rated Tottenham and England youth talent was tipped for big things but the attacking midfielder made just one brief cameo as a substitute before returning to Spurs for personal reasons. Would later cite issues with a back injury. Released in 2019 and has become a star man in Portugal for top-tier side Vitoria Guimaraes, still aged just 23. 

Marcus Edwards of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, NorwichP

Marcus Edwards during his only appearance for City - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Kenny McLean - HIT 

The Scotland midfielder was also signed in the January of 2018, for just £150,000 as he approached the end of his contract, but was allowed to remain with Aberdeen on loan initially. Questions may remain about being able to perform consistently in the Premier League but 122 Championship appearances and two title medals point to a wise piece of business. 

OTHERS 

Summer signing Sean Raggett joined his parent club after initially remaining on loan at Lincoln but the centre-back would only make two appearances before loan spells at Rotherham and Portsmouth, before eventually being released. Signed for a reported £350,000 with his contract expiring. 

OUT 

The first January of Webber and Farke’s era continued the summer overhaul work as a new style of play was introduced and the wage bill was slashed. 

Alex Pritchard made it clear he wanted to go to Huddersfield and was sold for an initial £11m fresh from returning from injury.  

Alex Pritchard of Norwich has a shot on goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at St Andrews, Bi

Alex Pritchard during one of his final Norwich appearances, a 2-0 win at Birmingham on Boxing Day 2017 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Cameron Jerome was sold to Derby for around £1.5m and fellow experienced heads Russell Martin and Steven Naismith were loaned to Rangers and Hearts respectively. 

Marcel Franke was loaned to Dynamo Dresden after the defender had failed to impress, Yanic Wildschut joined Cardiff on loan and left-back Harry Toffolo was allowed to join Millwall for free.

JANUARY 2019 

Philip Heise - MISS 

With City flying high at the top of the Championship, the only senior signing was experienced left-back Heise on deadline day, for a modest six-figure fee. After rejecting a new deal from Dynamo Dresden he had initially been lined up as a summer signing but was allowed to leave early. Made just one appearance, in a League Cup loss at Crawley, before loan spells with Nuremberg and Karlsruher, staying with the latter in Bundesliga Two last summer after being released. 

Philip Heise of Norwich and Jonathan Clauss of Arminia Bielefeld in action during the Pre-season fri

Philip Heise in pre-season action for the Canaries in 2019 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

OTHERS 

The only other incomings were in the academy ranks, with defender Akin Famewo joining from Luton and fellow U23 prospects Gassan Ahadme and William Hondermarck signed. 

OUT  

Outgoings made the headlines, as fringe players were moved out. Unwanted striker Nelson Oliveira joined Reading on loan and summer signing Ben Marshall was loaned to Millwall after failing to settle. Bolton made their loan of keeper Remi Matthews permanent and the fit-again Matt Jarvis joined Walsall for the final six months of his contract. 

JANUARY 2020 

Lukas Rupp – MISS 

Perhaps a harsh judgement but the experienced Bundesliga midfielder made a limited impact during the rest of the season, which was admittedly disrupted by the three-month pandemic break, after a £500,000 switch from Hoffenheim with City already struggling. Has put in excellent performances occasionally but injuries have never been far away. Capable of Premier League quality but hasn't found consistency. Contract expires in the summer.  

Victor Lindelof of Manchester United and Lukas Rupp of Norwich in action during the Premier League m

Lukas Rupp in action against Manchester United for Norwich last month - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Ondrej Duda - MISS 

The Slovakia international had fallen out of favour at Hertha Berlin after a change of head coach but was described by Farke as being worth £25million the previous summer after an excellent Bundesliga campaign. Earned a penalty on an encouraging debut against Bournemouth but only offered glimpses of quality and struggled after the three-month break. 

Sam McCallum - UNCLEAR 

The 21-year-old has been in regular loan action in the Championship and is still under contract until 2024, having made one League Cup appearance for Norwich. May yet come good, particularly if City return to the second tier, but has spent all of his time at Coventry and QPR after joining in a deal reportedly worth up to £3.5million if add-ons were activated. Had hamstring surgery in November and is hoping to return for the Rs this month. 

Melvin Sitti - MISS 

Young midfielder was playing regularly in the French second tier and was initially allowed to stay on loan at Sochaux after signing for an undisclosed fee. Made a brief League Cup appearance before going out for an unsuccessful loan in Belgium, mainly due to injury. Returned to Norfolk in January and played for the U23s but reached a mutual agreement to leave in the summer, despite having a contract until 2024. 

OUT  

Two summer loan signings were returned to sender. Defensive midfielder Ibrahim Amadou returned to Sevilla and ended the season getting relegated from La Liga with Leganes. Patrick Roberts cut short his loan from Manchester City and played on the fringes at Middlesbrough in the Championship instead. Srbeny was also sold to Paderborn and loan exits included Heise going to Nuremberg.

JANUARY 2021 

Dimitris Giannoulis – UNCLEAR 

The big focus a year ago was getting in a left-back, with Jacob Sorensen covering as Villarreal loanee Xavi Quintilla struggled for fitness. The Greek international arrived initially on loan for a reported fee of £500,000 that would be followed by £6m if promotion was assured. Aside from some shaky moments defensively and a harsh red card, Giannoulis did the job and played his part in sealing the title. Has struggled to convince in the top flight so far since being signed permanently, with Manchester United loanee Brandon Williams brought in as competition. The jury is still out. 

Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace and Dimitris Giannoulis of Norwich in action during the Premier League

Dimitris Giannoulis in action during City's loss at Palace last week - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

OTHERS 

Orjan Nyland was signed after injury to Michael McGovern to cover Tim Krul but remained on the bench. Joined Bournemouth on a free and provides cover to their number one Mark Travers. Young midfielder Regan Riley was added to the U23 ranks, with City reportedly paying £200,000 with potential add-ons to follow, to beat Brighton and West Ham to his signing. USA striker Sebastian Soto returned from his successful Telstar loan but only featured at U23 level. 

OUT 

Out-of-favour striker Josip Drmic found a loan home in Croatia and hit the goal trail for Rijeka. Youth Cup winner Carlton Morris brought an end to his loan adventures as he joined Barnsley for £250,000 ahead of his contract expiring and his seven goals helped the Tykes reach the play-offs. 

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