Norwich City must beware the bloopers in January transfer market business
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Sean Morrison. Scott Hogan, Conor Hourihane. Bailey Wright. All touted as good, possible, signings for Norwich City a year ago.
Morrison stayed at Cardiff, manager Neil Warnock rejecting a £3m summer bid from Sheffield Wednesday by saying it “wouldn’t even buy one of Morrison’s legs”. Hogan joined Aston Villa from Brentford for £12m, Hourihane cost Villa £3m and Wright joined Bristol City for around £500,000. Which explains why Norwich weren’t in with a shout for at least three of them.
With the January transfer window open, the purse strings are even tighter and it looks like recruitment will be restricted to freebies or loans. Cash deals may happen only if someone is sold, although selling the big assets this month would simply be an acknowledgement of the season ending right now.
There are so many names bandied around that it is impossible to be accurate on incomers – who’s has dinner with Daniel Farke, who’s applied for a loyalty card at the local supermarket?
Recruitment is arguably the hardest part of the job, and City have come up with some bloopers over the years – free signings or otherwise. While Manchester United wasted millions on Angel Di Maria and Juan Veron, City had a Luke Chadwick or a Luciano Becchio. Chadwick was half decent, but hardly ever wore a City shirt: injured on his scoring debut against Ipswich, he started 16 league games in two years.
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Becchio joined from Leeds in a deal which saw Steve Morison head the other way – the Argentine was an Elland Road hero but his move to Norfolk was effectively a career-ender. He started two league games in two and a half years and never scored. What on earth was manager Chris Hughton thinking?
Tony Andreu followed Alex Neil down from Hamilton and did nothing, but Ricky van Wolfswinkel will go down as the biggest flop of them all – City paid £8.5m for his services but over-hyped him. So much was expected, but the lad never stood a chance and scored once in 16 league starts in three years before he was sold to Vitesse Arnhem for half a million.
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And that’s part of the reason we are here today, pondering a cashless January...