City boss Chris Hughton tonight brought 48-hours of well-placed speculation to an end by duly confirming the season-long loan signing of Spanish international left-back Javier Garrido.
The 27-year-old has spent the last two seasons in Italy with Serie A giants Lazio; before that he enjoyed a full season at The Etihad under then Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson – ensuring that the English Premier League will be nothing new to him.
Little wonder that the Canary chief was delighted to have strengthened his hand again ahead of the start of the new season at Fulham this weekend.
In every likelihood given the time for his international paperwork to clear and the fact that he will have been in the building less than 24 hours, Garrido will be no more than an interested spectator at Craven Cottage.
Thereafter, however, he will clearly give Marc Tierney a run for his money in that left-back berth and add the kind of top flight experience to City’s left-hand flank – just as, hopefully, Michael Turner will in the heart of that defence.
At 27 in Garrido’s case and 28 in that of Turner, Hughton is bolting in players with just that little bit more experience into the team of young tyros that ex-boss Paul Lambert constructed. Both have been round the block just that little more often than a clutch of their team-mates.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be bringing in somebody of Javier’s quality,” Hughton told the club’s official website this evening.
“It gives us real competition in the squad, and for me an important factor was the fact that he has played in the Premier League before,” he added. “He has played in La Liga, Serie A, and the Premier League, so he is a player of real experience.”
At this morning’s pre-match Press conference Hughton had confirmed that discussions were on-going with Garrido; that recent speculation was less than idle.
“He is one we are aware of,” he told reporters. “I can confirm there has been some contact between the two clubs and he is a player we do like. When there is something concrete and official to be said we’ll say it.”
Which the club then did – some nine hours later.
Hughton also confirmed that he has his eye on a further addition to his goalkeeping department – in particular in the shape of Blackburn’s 27-year-old keeper Mark Bunn.
With one of the two, former England Youth internationals Declan Rudd and Jed Steer down to continue their footballing education on loan elsewhere, the Canary boss clearly wants to add an older head to the mix with newly-capped England keeper John Ruddy the man in possession for the forseeable.
“It is an area that I would like to bring in someone and that is not detrimental to the two young keepers we have got here,” confirmed Hughton. “We will look at the opportunity to get one of them out on loan to get valuable experience.”
Again, whether or not the Bunn deal goes through, it is the age that is telling – 27. The manager is bolting older heads onto Lambert’s younger guns. And, in the case of Garrido, confirming the club’s stated intention this summer to cast their net ever wider for players capable of keeping the Norfolk club in the top flight of English football.
They may have plundered the best out of the Football League; that the likes of a Jacob Butterfield could be an ever rarer signature as City look to the best leagues in Europe for the next level of Carrow Road recruits.
Butterfield himself remains on course to figure later this autumn; the former, young Barnsley skipper still being “a few weeks away” from making his first competitive outing for his new employers.
Wes Hoolahan resumed training today and will be monitored closely before Hughton settles on his squad for Fulham; the game comes too soon for midfield play-maker David Fox who will, instead, be given a development game at Colney on Monday with which to play catch-up fitness-wise.
All four of Norwich’s mid-week international players – Robert Snodgrass, Russell Martin, Steve Morison and Ruddy – returned unscathed from their escapades.