Robin Sainty: Why Norwich Cty won’t abandon transfer spending policy
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
With the madness of the January transfer window upon us it’s inevitable that there will be demands in some quarters for City to spend big money in an attempt to stay up, even though that would be in direct contravention of the blueprint that was put in place when Daniel Farke and Stuart Webber arrived in 2017.
Inevitably there will be those who will argue that gambling in this way is justified because of the money that another season at the top level would bring and the fact that it would perhaps allow City to hold on to all their young talent for longer.
That is, of course, a perfectly valid argument, as long as it's accepted that if the gamble fails City would be back to square one or worse in terms of their financial position. What's more, instead of selling from a position of strength they would almost certainly be in a fire sale situation. For me that is not a risk worth taking.
Let's compare the potential situation this summer to that of 2018. At that point a debt-riddled City had finished 14th in the Championship with a side widely derided by critics as being a mishmash of lower league German players and youngsters and only raised above being relegation fodder by the brilliance of James Maddison.
While the sales of Maddison and Josh Murphy undoubtedly saved the club from administration, it inevitably produced accusations of lack of ambition and prophecies of doom in terms of prospects on the pitch.
You may also want to watch:
However, the following season, with little in the way of expectations but following some judicious bargain hunting that brought in the likes of Tim Krul, Emi Buendia and Teemu Pukki, City won the Championship title playing glorious football. So much for lack of ambition.
Of course, there will be some who will say that the club just got lucky and that having done so they should have gone down the Aston Villa route of throwing £100m or more at staying up, based on the false premise that Premier League money arrives immediately rather than in increments.
- 1 The Greek view on Norwich City new boy Dimitris Giannoulis
- 2 Cherries lose more ground on Canaries in promotion race
- 3 Farke maps out his risk averse strategy on Pukki and Krul
- 4 PRESSER LIVE: Norwich City v Bristol City - Pukki still out, Krul set to return
- 5 City confirm Dimitris Giannoulis deal
- 6 Buendia to Arsenal. Forget it, says City boss Farke
- 7 'Our own Heracles at left-back' - City fans delighted as Giannoulis completes loan move
- 8 Farke is not looking over his shoulder at City
- 9 Norwich City v Bristol City - all you need to know
- 10 David Hannant: Daniel Barden's success sums up all that is right at Norwich City
However, after 21 games Villa are one point above the relegation zone. Of course, they may stay up, but if they go down they will have huge financial problems with players on high wages.
City, on the other hand, if they should go down, would have six key players on long term contracts, each of whom could bring in more than Maddison did, but they would only have to sell on their own terms, due to the relegation clauses in those contracts that would slash wages.
They would also have a bunch of quality youth players from the enhanced Academy with the benefit of game time at decent clubs under their belt, like Rocky Bushiri, Charlie Gilmour, Akin Famewo and Simon Power, as well as emerging talent like Daniel Adshead and Jordan Thomas. Whether Adam Idah also goes on loan after his heroics at Deepdale remains to be seen, but clearly getting playing time for him between now and the end of the season will be vital.
Most importantly the club would no longer be digging itself out of a financial black hole and would have money in the bank. Given the miracles that Webber was able to work with next to nothing I would certainly have faith in him to use a decent budget effectively.
Of course, there will be those who won't, but with City having stabilised financially while investing heavily in the Academy, both in terms of infrastructure and signing young talent from elsewhere, if the worst happens I would feel much more optimistic about where the club is headed than I did when they went down in 2016.
I still hope it won't come to that but if it does it's worth remembering that you sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.