David McNally teased us… and then duly delivered.
The tantalising “Right, we will have some news regarding a new signing later in the day. Not sure when…. #ncfc @NorwichCityFC “ tweet from the CEO (@davidmcnally62) sent Twitter and the internet messageboards into something of a frenzy, with the smart money appearing to head toward ex-Stoke keeper Carlo Nash.
Luckily for everyone – particularly those who threatened to ‘explode’ if said signing was a 39 year-old third choice keeper – the news was of the mouth-watering variety; Birmingham City’s England Under-21 international Nathan Redmond being the subject of the reveal.
With the 19 year-old having been a long standing target for Chris Hughton, the announcement when it came was both timely and uplifting, particularly after the Daily Mirror had confidently announced Everton as his preferred destination; Swansea apparently his second choice ahead of the least desirable option of City.
With that particular article now rendered meaningless, the signing of Redmond proves conclusively that a ‘Hughton factor’ does indeed exist and that McNally is still ‘the man’ when it comes to sealing a deal.
In conversation with the club’s official website Redmond confirmed the lure of working with his former boss was a significant factor: “He was very influential on my career at Birmingham. He gave me the chance to play and the chance to express myself every time that I stepped on to the field and I feel like on the bigger stage he’ll do exactly the same thing.”
In the same piece Hughton spoke in unsurprisingly glowing terms when describing the qualities of his new charge, in particular his versatility: “He’s someone we can bring in to the forward areas and primarily has played on either wing in his career so far, but can also play off the front.”
All of which smacks of a shrewd piece of business for City, the rumoured £3.2million inclusive of add-ons being dwarfed by the £8million that Cardiff are rumoured to be spending on Blackpool’s Thomas Ince.
Described back in 2010, by the then Birmingham City Academy manager Terry Westley, as a winger in the mould of Aaron Lennon or Ashley Young (hopefully more akin to the former) we certainly look to have acquired ourselves someone with genuine pace. With this particular quality having been in short supply in Hughton’s class of 2012/13 the signing of Redmond undoubtedly ticks that box very nicely.
Throw into the Redmond mix a sprinkling of creativity and we have hopefully – while not wanting to pile too much pressure on 19 year-old shoulders – secured the services of someone who will link up well with our existing attacking options while providing quality ammunition for Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Grant Holt.
Of course nothing of this ilk comes with a guarantee and for a salutary lesson in how a ‘dream move’ can quickly turn into anything but, one only has to look at Jacob Butterfield. Signed at around this time last season with a not dissimilar fanfare – albeit also with a dodgy knee – the ex-Barnsley man is still waiting to make the impact in yellow that we and he had hoped.
While there have been faint whispers of a move away from Carrow Road to reignite his career, if we assume Butterfield is to remain a City player, a full, injury-free pre-season will certainly go some way to at least give him a chance to show us his undoubted talent.
The original talk of him being the new Wes Hoolahan is currently well wide of the mark, but football being the strange beast that it is can often throw a curve-ball when we least expect it. Let’s hope for his sake the new season sees his career ‘kick on’ in the yellow shirt.
So, with the McNally/Hughton hit squad having already delivered us a Dutch international goalscorer and a flying England Under-21 winger, who will be next through the revolving Carrow Road doors?
Reports from Eindhoven suggest that Ola Toivenon – he who knows nothing about Norwich City – has resumed training with PSV, but has been given until the end of this week to make a decision on his future. The longer this one runs the more unlikely it seems that we will see the Swede in canary yellow, but with ‘dogged Dave’ on the case anything is possible.
Talking of which, City’s desire to land Holland Under-21 international Leroy Fer took an intriguing twist today, with BBC journalist Richard Askam suggesting that we still “remain favourites” to sign him despite the continued interest from Everton.
Whether this one materialises or not, it still appears to have some way to go but if it were to come to fruition one can visualise some very tetchy Scousers; questions being asked as to why ‘little Norwich’ have been able to gazump them over not one but two potential signings.
We live in interesting times…