That’s recruitment sorted ...so bring it on!
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
In recent years, trying to write a piece about Norwich City’s new signings would have left me struggling to meet the word count.
However, no fewer than 11 players have joined the club in this transfer window – and as a result I’m going to have to cut a few paragraphs!
Norwich’s biggest problem last season was a very leaky defence. They conceded an eye-watering 75 goals in their 38 league matches. Very nearly two a game.
It’s funny, isn’t it, that the club’s highest rated players – the ones tipped for big money moves to Premier League clubs before the new season starts – made up three of by far the worst performing back four?
It’s hard to blame the attacking players for not scoring enough when you’re asking them to put three away nearly every match. Not even runaway champions Liverpool managed to score at that rate.
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We are all happy with Tim Krul in goal – he was officially the player of the season. I was pleased and somewhat surprised at the lack of any rumours about him leaving. Seeing him on social media taking in Great Yarmouth’s Hippodrome circus with his family is a reassuring sign that he’s sticking around.
But it was in central defence that City needed to strengthen the most, and by bringing in Ben Gibson on loan from Burnley, they have filled the gap nicely.
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Daniel Farke has used the ageing midfielder Alex Tettey as a centre half in a couple of pre-season matches, so he was either hoping to recruit someone for the position or he’d have been taking a huge risk. Thankfully it was the former, not the latter.
Xavi Quintilla is on loan from Villarreal and can play in Jamal Lewis’s left-back spot. Bali Mumba has joined from Sunderland and can fill in at centre back if required while primarily being a defensive midfielder. The Sunderland fans were sad to see him go, which is always a good sign. But it did feel like there was work still to do on the defence, it must be said. That central defender position was, until Gibson arrived, a gaping hole.
In midfield, Oliver Skipp has joined on loan from Tottenham Hotspur. A product of their youth academy and highly rated by the club’s fans, who reacted to the news of his move with references to their ‘future captain’ and calls for Norwich to ‘look after him’.
City have had a few Premier League players on loan in recent years who have barely featured, but this one feels different. Protecting the defence and hopefully using his passing ability to launch attacks, Skipp will be in the engine room of the team and could be a key part of it.
Przemyslaw Placheta and Danel Sinani are both wingers, but I must confess that I know little about them, what with my knowledge of the first divisions of Poland and Luxembourg somewhat lacking.
Having options out wide can never be a bad thing, though, especially in a long season of 46 games. Jacob Sorensen will be looking for a place in the centre of midfield, while slightly further forward Kieran Dowell will hopefully be creating plenty of chances for the City strikers.
Up front, Jordan Hugill will be more of a target man than Teemu Pukki. He’s more than just a big guy to hold the ball up, though. Fifteen goals on loan at QPR last season, and that too while apparently not fully fit, is not to be sniffed at. He is a good signing and one I feel other clubs in the league will be looking at enviously.
Those 11 arrivals have certainly helped me move on from the complete disaster that was Norwich’s post-lockdown form and filled me with optimism that we have a squad that will be competing towards the top end of the table.
Several hungry new players, eager to impress – bring it on.