True to his word, City boss Paul Lambert appears to have long since turned his thoughts towards the back two-thirds of his Premiership-bound side with growing speculation that Brighton winger Elliott Bennett looks set to become Norwich’s third signing of the summer.
A fee between the two clubs was reported to have been agreed on Friday; leaving just personal terms and a medical for the 22-year-old to discuss.
But while Lambert was staying firmly Mum on any impending arrivals as he oversaw Steve Morison’s signing-in ceremony at Colney this afternoon, back on the South Coast and his opposite number Gus Poyet was swiftly moving on – agreeing a £1 million fee for Watford winger Will Buckley today.
One out, one in was his policy. He has, in fairness, had all spring to plan for certain exits.
Norwich were reportedly on the winger’s heels back in January only for their initial approaches to be rebuffed. Once again, a ticket to the Premier League – and the money that comes attached – can make all the difference.
The question tonight was whether or not the one going ‘out’ – Bennett – had actually followed the lead set first by James Vaughan and then Morison in penning a Premier League contract with the newly-promoted Norfolk side.
Poyet appeared wholly at ease with Bennett’s impending exit over the weekend, telling the local Evening Argus that all was in hand.
“We have every single position covered when it comes to bringing in new players,” he told the paper, his chase for Bennett-replacement Buckley about to bear fruit.
“It makes no difference whether it is a goalkeeper, a striker or a winger.”
Today and amongst those offering their farewell speeches to the exiting ‘Benno’ was the younger brother of former Colchester United and Newcastle star Lomano LuaLua.
Kazenga LuaLua is also at St James’ Park, but enjoyed a successful loan spell at Brighton in amidst their League One promotion triumph.
And having seen both the Premiership at first hand through first his brother and then his own, fledgling career at Newcastle, the 20-year-old appears convinced that his Seagulls pal Bennett can be a hit in the top flight.
“There is a massive difference between League One and what is the best league in the world,” LuaLua told The Argus tonight.
“It’s quicker and there is a big physical difference. You have to be strong, you can’t afford to be weak at all,” he added.
“There will be massive pressure, especially for Benno if people are looking at him coming from a lower league and wondering whether he will be good enough.
“It won’t be easy for him. He will have to be physically stronger and he will be playing against unbelievable players, but I think he will be all right. Benno’s a great player. He has got everything.”
Once again, Lambert will find himself with a relative abundance of riches if he adopts to drop the diamond and inject natural width into his side via either a Bennett or an Anthony McNamee.
Equally, the one-time Wolves youngster will add fresh pace to the manager’s armoury – as well as the winning habit garnered from Brighton’s own promotion triumph last season.
The other midfield option that Lambert could, of course, have up his sleeve is the return of Arsenal starlet Henri Lansbury to Norfolk on a further loan deal.
Speaking at today’s official welcome of Morison to the fold, Lambert admitted that he had yet to speak to Arsene Wenger on the matter.
It was, clearly, still one that was ‘up in the air’. The loan market is something that the Canary chief uses only sparingly. But to decent effect.
“He [Lansbury] was brilliant for us,” said Lambert.
“But at this moment in time I’ve not spoken to Arsenal.”
His intent, clearly, was to get players in on full-time deals and then see how the land lies closer to the summer transfer window slamming shut on August 31st.
“That’s what I’m trying to do at the moment,” said Lambert, as Bennett appears to be filling that No3 slot this evening.
“I might go down that route [loans] later on, but at this minute in time I’m concentrating on that before anything.”
Lansbury himself is away on international duty; he’ll keep, appeared to be the general thrust of Lambert’s remarks.
“Henri was an absolute massive part of what happened last year,” said Lambert, leaving that particular door firmly ajar.
chris Comber says
Good luck to young Bennett, a fine versatile player, and good luck to Norwich who were the first pro side which I saw at the old Goldstone Ground in 1946 3-3 draw, two of Citys goals scored by a fast little right winger called Ryder