Why this transfer window is so critical for Norwich City in the quest for Premier League survivalTue 29 Jan 13 by James Kent
It’s coming towards the end of January and Norwich City’s fans are getting increasingly nervous about the lack of transfer activity. So far, the only bit of business has been the free transfer signing of goalkeeper Lee Camp.
Speculation continues to link a handful of players to Norwich with a mixture of rumour and confirmed bids. It’s a well-known fact that the Canaries are in the market for a new striker, so plenty have been linked. The latest was reported by Sky Sports and suggested that Chris Hughton has now turned his attention to Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
Another of the recent intriguing links was that of MLS’ Kei Kamara, a player that Chris Hughton has since admitted an interest in to local media in Norwich. This was after the club has been seemingly priced out of a move for Celtic striker Gary Hooper and Danny Graham appears to prefer to return to the north of the England.
Transfer windows have been and gone in the past with plenty of speculation, but with no actual signings of note turning up. Fans will be hoping that this particular window presents a totally different story with concrete signings, and the signs of that happening are relatively promising.
It might be at a fairly advanced stage of the transfer window, but bids for highly rated players are going in and it looks like there might be a bit of money to spend, especially for a top class striker. There might only be a matter of days before the window slams shut, but it hasn’t been very active so far. I suspect there are still a number of big deals to be done, and things will really start to warm up as we get to the last day or two.
However, as positive and hopeful as I am, there is always that bit of doubt that the deals won’t get done. I have been through enough transfer windows to know that sometimes deals just don’t get done, despite the best of intentions. The January transfer market is particularly difficult, because of the short period of time to get deals done and the inflated prices.
Nevertheless, Norwich are not in the luxury position of just being able to be passive in the market while they let every other team get on with it. The club has not enjoyed good Premier League form lately and currently sit bottom of the form table with one point from their last six games.
I think the squad is, probably, in reasonable shape in most areas when every player is fit. But the need for another striker with a proven goal-scoring record has been going on for some time. The club managed to get away with it last season, mainly due to the 15 league goals that Grant Holt scored.
However, Norwich’s main striker hasn’t been anywhere near as prolific this term and would, probably, do well to hit double figures this season. Nevertheless, the issue isn’t really about Grant Holt. The fact of the matter is the club needs some extra help in the goal-scoring department.
And it’s fair to say that a long-term replacement for Holt will need to be acquired at some point. But at the moment, it’s a matter of finding someone that can take some of the goal-scoring burden off him.
I’m extremely confident that someone will come in the door over the next few days. It is also very pleasing that the scouting network now seems to reach around the world. I think in the past; we have felt that the extent of the scouting was done in the lower leagues of English football.
But good foreign players all want to play in the Premier League, and Norwich can now offer that opportunity. It’s also fair to say that top-flight survival last season has severely boosted the resources available to the club. Clearly, the same again in this campaign could put on Norwich on a whole new financial footing.
However, top-flight survival isn’t something that just happens, and a squad needs to be reinvested in during every transfer window. The clubs that fail to do this are typically the ones that are relegated, so the Canaries must do everything they can to bring fresh quality to the team.
The current bad run of form can be turned around by a couple of signings that would represent real quality because it would give everyone connected with the club a lift. I’m reasonably confident that the team can maintain defensive stability with the players that are here already.
But I can see goal-scoring being a problem if that elusive striker does not arrive by January 31. We know from experience that clubs with a solid striker scoring goals for fun tend to stay clear of relegation. That being said; the team are still seven points clear of the drop zone, but would surely love to add more firepower.
Some of the games coming up are likely to be tight, so if the right player does come in, then he could score the goals to pull Norwich City totally clear. But if he can’t be found, then the club might be in for a nervous end to the season.
James Kent has been a Norwich City fan for a number of years; he is also the Founder and Editor of www.canarieschatter.com, follow James on Twitter and Facebook. Also, for freelance requests visit www.jameskentwriter.com