On the current Canary scale this week’s been a relatively quiet one.
With Take That taking taking centre stage, even the signing of a centre-back (that’s a *centre-back*) found itself eclipsed; Gary, Mark and Howard taking plaudits by the thousand for simply doing what Jonny Howson has been doing once a fortnight for the last five seasons (IE. dominating the centre of the Carrow Road pitch).
I’d like to see them try it with a burly 6′4 opponent trying to stop you performing by kicking the shit out of you.
But whether Take That is your thing or not, it was undoubtedly a coup for the club and the city, and one that can hopefully be repeated with bands who are less reliant on teary ballads and more attuned to guitars and oomph.
Notable also this week was that the club now has an official birthday – June 17, mark it in your diaries. Quite why the big 115 suddenly became a thing is not for me to say but on the basis it makes the club a Gemini, a quick google was quite enlightening:
Gemini: Represents two different personalities in one and you will never be sure which one you will face. They are sociable, communicative and ready for fun, with a tendency to suddenly get serious, thoughtful and restless.
No-one’s about to contest the first sentence, especially those who follow City on their travels. And the bit about being ‘ready for fun’ is just a bit weird. I’ll take ‘communicative’ though, despite the best efforts of Jez Moxey.
To be honest we were expecting to hear of the pending arrival of Arsenal’s young Polish centre-back Krystian Bielik on loan, so it was properly out of the blue when on Thursday the club announced the signing of Christoph Zimmermann – a 24-year old German who was Daniel Farke’s captain for Borussia Dortmund II last season.
Given the different structure of German football it remains difficult to gauge the level from which Farke and Zimmermann have arrived but the general consensus seems to be it’s equivalent to our fourth tier – League Two(ish). Which makes the step up for both a sizeable one.
And, almost for the first time, one or two questions have started to be asked around the quality of those who are making their way to Colney. And certainly in the case of Master Zimmermann they, to me, seem perfectly valid.
To be fair, I think we know pretty much what we’re getting with Marley Watkins and in Mario Vrančić we have someone who performed well in one of the top leagues in Europe. Both appear logical signings. And in Angus Gunn, although some have raised doubts over his lack of first-team experience, we have someone who is highly rated and on the upward curve.
The case for Zimmermann is, on paper at least, harder to make. He arrives with some encouraging words from his new (and old) coach, who clearly has faith in the lad and knows him well, but this is one where judgement will have to be reserved until we see him play.
He has all the attributes of a Championship centre-back but only time will tell if that’s going to translate into someone who’s better equipped to deal with the English second-tier than Ryan Bennett, Seb Bassong and Michael Turner. Some may argue that’s a low bar – but for a fraction of the cost, if he can cut it it’ll be something of a masterstroke.
I get however that some remain to be convinced. Much depends on who else arrives in the next few weeks and whether Zimmeramnn will be immediately thrust into the Championship fray or given time to find his feet. We’ll see.
The Graham Dorrans to Rangers story threatens to become this summer’s saga. Clearly Rangers want him, City are clearly prepared to sell, but in the game of poker it has become neither side is about to blink. That Rangers barely have a pot to relieve themselves in is obviously key to the whole caboodle; ditto our need to generate funds and release some hefty wages from the payroll.
I suspect this deal will get done eventually – we even found some middle ground with Hull when pursuing Robbie Brady – but it could take a while and ultimately if it does crash and burn then we’ll still have the services of one who fits in with Farke’s footballing ideology of a possession based game.
Where it may fall down for the Scot, if he stays, is his natural tendency to slow the game down, with the new era looking to replace anything remotely ponderous with dynamism and verve. His ability to pick a pass however sets him apart from your average Championship midfielder and if he goes it’ll be a hole that needs filling.
With every new signing the cries go up. “But what about a left-back?” … “We’re still waaay short of centre-backs” … “If Dorrans and Howson go we’ll be short in central midfield”.
But fear not. Fellow columnist James Finbow called it right in his last piece when he used the jig-saw analogy. It matters not what order the pieces fall into place; just as long as they do eventually. Stuart Webber proved himself to be a competent plate-spinner at Huddersfield last summer.
I sense he’s repeating the same trick right now.