Connor Southwell: City have upped the ante in transfer market
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The signing of Pierre Lees-Melou displays the improved market Norwich City find themselves shopping in as they prepare for the Premier League.
After relegation from the top-flight a year ago, Stuart Webber took personal ownership of City's shortcomings and described how he felt he had sent Daniel Farke to 'war without a gun'.
That relegation and the pain it caused both, collectively and individually, is fuelling the recruitment drive this summer as Norwich aim to make a better fist of their survival fight this time around.
City's business two seasons ago was largely driven by loan moves for players such as Ralf Fahrmann and Ibrahim Amadou. Norwich found their targets weren't up for the fight of attempting to remain in the Premier League.
Given how they managed themselves two seasons ago, Norwich can now loosen the pursestrings somewhat and are in a stronger position to entice talents to Carrow Road. In Daniel Farke's quotes following confirmation of Lees-Melou's arrival, he highlighted the Frenchman's desire to come to Norfolk as pivotal.
Their plan this summer is to reduce the number of players within their squad but drive up the quality.
Lees-Melou arrives with plenty of top-flight experience in his native country and has made over 150 appearances in Ligue 1. The former Dijon man has also played in the Champions League and Europa League during his time at Nice.
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He has joined Norwich on a three-year deal with a £3.5million fee paid upfront. Lees-Melou remains in France but is set to travel to his new club later this week. That rules him out of contention for the opening fixture of pre-season against King's Lynn Town on Friday evening.
City are still working hard to improve their squad. The club would preferably like to sign players on permanent deals over loan moves. On their wishlist includes another central midfielder, with a more defensive focus, a winger and a striker.
The club also working on adding to their defensive options but have cooled their interest in Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer having seen a £10m bid rejected in May. City don't intend on upping that offer, with Andrew Omobamidele having arrived back for pre-season in top condition.
That may mean City elect to use their remaining Premier League loan spot on a defender, given Oliver Skipp looks set to stay with Tottenham this season.
City boss Farke believes his latest signing will make a substantial contribution to their cause next season.
Speaking to the club's official channels, Farke said: “We think Pierre will help us in the Premier League. He has a great character and personality. It is not a coincidence and is always a good sign when a player is allowed to wear the captain’s armband at such a big club like Nice.
“In our communication we all got the feeling that he is desperate to come to Norwich. He’s an intelligent and humble guy and is greedy to work and improve on this level.”