Paddy Davitt: Bumpy is only half the story for City in this transfer tango
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Daniel Farke may well be the master of the understatement when he labelled the final countdown to the transfer window as ‘bumpy’ for Norwich City.
It feels like it could be the type of nauseous, queasy, disorientating sensation more akin to the nervous flyer or fun fair thrill-seeker.
For all the planning and plotting to refresh a squad that looked like it had run its course as it slipped down the Premier League plug hole, Farke and Stuart Webber’s masterplan is now having to endure severe turbulence.
Jamal Lewis’ exit to Newcastle was a relatively painless episode. The Liverpool saga that preceded it this summer arguably reinforced City’s hand as a club under a sporting director who will not bend or bow when the big boys come knocking.
Lewis wanted Premier League football. Newcastle wanted a modern-day left back who, Steve Bruce has since admitted, is far from the finished article but has the potential to become a reliable performer.
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Even the rather eye-catching dance between Max Aarons and the ‘actual’ Barcelona, not the virtual version, appears to have been handled with broad agreement from the player and his club. Aarons remains one of the first names on Farke’s Championship team sheet. The same cannot be said of Todd Cantwell or Emi Buendia.
Plenty has already been discussed regarding their Bournemouth omissions and Farke’s raw post-match reveal of why arguably the club’s two best creative forces were absent on the south-coast.
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But the fact City lost a game in all probability they might have expected to get something from, given the overwhelming weight of possession and not being able to call on the cunning of Cantwell or Buendia, underlines it is already having a negative drag.
Farke wants the window to close so he can fully focus his players on the job in hand of positioning Norwich in the front rank of Championship promotion contenders. Webber surely wants the window to close to lower his phone bills and lie in a darkened room for a few weeks. Neither will get their wish this side of Derby County’s pending visit.
That, right now, feels more like an aside before the real business begins of the remaining two weeks of a transfer window which seems designed to cause City maximum Championship damage.
There was a feeling inside the corridors of power following Lewis’ move to Tyneside perhaps one more of the crown jewels might depart in this window, to the mutual benefit of all parties. Norwich do not need to sell but inevitably the overhang from another six months or so without paying supporters in attendance opens up a wider financial hole that needs to be addressed. That injects an unwanted element into this current equation, but of far greater urgency is the corrosive footballing impact of losing a number of their best and brightest in the coming days.
City would inevitably have to return to the market to plug the gaps but armed with sizeable transfer fees Webber could expect to face inevitable price inflation for any player Norwich identify.
Then there is a debilitating impact on Farke’s plans from losing a key player or two. If we wish to deal in hypotheticals Ben Godfrey’s possible departure would be an easier problem to fix than Aarons, given the relative resource at his disposal.
To lose Cantwell and Buendia with Kieran Dowell already out until the new year places a huge burden on Marco Stiepermann or Mario Vrancic. Two players who barely figured last season and who, one can reasonably assume, had not been earmarked for leading roles this time around.
These next two or three weeks are huge in the context of the season and perhaps how the Farke and Webber experiment plays out from here. This is by far the best shot they will get to return to the Premier League. The financial winds are still, on balance, favourable compared to the vast majority of Championship rivals. They also have a squad the envy of many in the second tier. But that can all change between now and the end of this transfer window.