Should Canaries fans be concerned about slow transfer market?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
There may be some Norwich City fans fretting about the wait for new signings ahead of the Premier League season – but they are in good company.
The Canaries are one of 14 teams in the Premier League yet to officially reveal a summer addition, with the transfer window having opened on Wednesday, June 9.
With the European Championship and Copa America underway and the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic being felt throughout the game, that is hardly surprising.
As reported, it’s understood that City are working to bring goalkeeper Angus Gunn back to the club from Southampton soon, but with less than two months until the season kicks off it’s understandable that some supporters will be anxious for transfer news.
We also know that the Canaries will make the loans of Ben Gibson and Dimitris Giannoulis permanent from Burnley and PAOK respectively, with that outlay of around £15million to be confirmed before the start of pre-season.
As City fans know all too well, one of the top-flight teams to start their business is Aston Villa, having signed Emi Buendia for an initial £33m last week.
Perhaps more relevant is fellow promoted side Watford wasting little time with three signings, including left-back Danny Rose on a free from Tottenham and midfielder Imran Louza from Nantes in a deal reportedly worth around £10m.
West Ham have signed young defensive midfielder Pierre Ekwah Elimby from Chelsea, reportedly for a compensation fee of around £1.5m with potential further add-ons.
Southampton confirmed last month that Theo Walcott had signed a two-year deal after spending the final year of his Everton contract on loan at St Mary’s.
The only other deal confirmed so far was a significant one, with Liverpool paying a reported £36m to bring defender Ibrahima Konate in from RB Leipzig last month.
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Wolves also announced their first signing today, bringing in Yerson Mosquera from Colombian side Atletico Nacional for a reported £4.5m.
Meanwhile, at the time of writing, just 21 signings have been announced by Championship clubs since the season ended, the majority of which have been free transfers - including former Canaries striker Jordan Rhodes switching Sheffield Wednesday for Huddersfield and Charlie Austin making his QPR loan from West Brom permanent.
There are still 74 days of the window remaining though, with the Premier League transfer deadline set for 11pm on Monday, August 30 – when the campaign will already be three games old.
City’s sporting director Stuart Webber is renowned for taking pride in avoiding deadline day scrambles whenever possible, hinting previously that it suggests a lack of planning.
Last year brought an unprecedented summer window, with the restarted Premier League season ending in late July and just six weeks between seasons amid the pandemic, which meant the transfer deadline wasn’t until early October and after City had already played five matches.
We can take a look back at the first three summer windows since Webber arrived from Huddersfield in 2017 though.
Despite it not being until late May that Daniel Farke was revealed as head coach, the Welshman had already put in a lot of groundwork as cost-cutting began and a major squad revamp was started.
That was kicked off by the announcement ahead of the final home game of 2016-17 that seven senior players, including John Ruddy, Sebastien Bassong and Ryan Bennett, would not be getting new contracts.
Four additions had been announced by mid-June that summer, kicked off on June 1 by Marley Watkins’ imminent free transfer and followed by the signings of Mario Vrancic and Christoph Zimmermann, as well as the loan arrival of Angus Gunn.
That hectic summer of 14 signings in total continued during July with the arrivals of Harrison Reed, James Husband and Marcel Franke, then Tom Trybull and Marco Stiepermann in August, followed by Grant Hanley on August 30 two days before the transfer deadline.
Jacob Murphy, Jonny Howson, Graham Dorrans and Declan Rudd were all sold that summer as well but that was an unusual window, as a new regime brought sweeping changes to move City in a new direction.
The summer of 2018 was more settled, with the EFL aligning with the Premier League to close the transfer window following the first game of the season, although EFL clubs could still sort loan deals until the end of August.
At this stage three years ago the only signing to be confirmed was the arrival of Buendia from Getafe on June 8, with the sale of Josh Murphy to Cardiff for an initial £10m following a few days later.
A couple of weeks after that the big-money sale of James Maddison to Leicester was confirmed and the signings of Moritz Leitner, Teemu Pukki and Ben Marshall followed swiftly at the end of June.
Felix Passlack and Jordan Rhodes arrived on loan in early July for the start of pre-season and Tim Krul was signed on July 24 in time to feature during the closing stages of pre-season.
Which leaves the summer of 2019, when the Canaries were also preparing for the Premier League after winning the Championship title – when there wasn’t a major tournament for European teams but there was the Copa America and the Africa Cup of Nations.
There were plenty of loan exits and fringe players moved on but no high-profile or unexpected departures, with a host of new contracts for promotion heroes.
With the Premier League window closing the day before City kicked off the season at Liverpool on August 9, the loan of Ibrahim Amadou was confirmed two days before the deadline.
There was an early arrival that summer though, with Patrick Roberts’ loan announced on May 30. The second signing didn’t arrive until June 24, when the imminent free transfer of Josip Drmic was revealed.
Ralph Fahrmann arrived in early July and Sam Byram on July 15, when the Canaries were in Germany stepping up their pre-season preparations.
So in summary, there had been four signings by this point of the summer in 2017 but just one in both 2018 and 2019.
While many Canaries fans will have full faith that Webber and Farke have the situation under control, nervousness about a lack of progress from some is also understandable, particularly after the sale of a star player.
It is not just City experiencing a slow start to trading though and even with international action and delicate finances for some, we can be sure that the transfer wheel will begin to turn, both at Carrow Road and across the football world.