Norwich confirmed this afternoon what we have all known for some time… that Martin Olsson and Carlo Nash are to be the latest recruits in the summer ‘refresh’ of Chris Hughton’s squad.
In Olsson’s case – subject to international clearance – he will add some quality to City’s left sided options, with his ability to play in a defensive or midfield role at the forefront of Hughton’s thinking. City’s boss told the club’s official website: “…He can [also] play anywhere on the left hand side so he brings us good flexibility in that sense, plus at 25 he’s at an age where he has some experience and also some time to improve…”
While it looks likely that the first priority for Olsson will be to provide serious competition for Javier Garrido’s left-back position, his ability to slot into the wide-left role of a midfield four or five looks an interesting one given Hughton’s desire for solidity – particularly when playing away from home.
A Swedish international at Under-18, Under-21 and full level, Olsson brings with him considerable experience of the English game having clocked up well over 130 appearances since his Blackburn debut in 2007 – 88 of them in the Premier League. So, while still only 25 years-old, we can expect him to ‘hit the ground running’ when he gets to wear the yellow and green in anger for the first time.
The signing of Carlo Nash must rank alongside Carrow Road’s worst kept secrets with the player himself having tweeted two days ago: “Thanks to all the Stokies for all your kind messages. I loved my time at Stoke and good luck for the new season, except of course vs. #ncfc”
Even those who are not ‘Twitter compliant’ can’t possibly fail to notice the giveaway at the end of the tweet, with Nash – having been made a free agent by Stoke at the end of last season – confirming his route east a full 48 hours before the official announcement. Subsequent tweets have confirmed his place at City’s Austrian training camp alongside one John Ruddy; himself – one assumes – no longer a Chelsea target given their capture of former Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer.
At 39 years of age Nash brings with him extensive top flight experience and will provide some stiff competition to Mark Bunn for the role of Ruddy’s understudy. In a career that has spanned three decades, City will be Nash’s eleventh stop on a British tour that has seen spells at Manchester City, Everton and, of course, Stoke amongst others.
Commenting on the club’s official site, Hughton said of Nash: “… It is [now] important to us to bring in a ‘keeper of great experience and a player that is used to living life in the Premier League…”
With Nash having been guilty of jumping the McNally gun by 48 hours thanks to Twitter, the same medium had all but confirmed the arrival of Olsson, with his picture – alongside a City fan near Norwich station – having been doing the rounds on Wednesday afternoon prior to the official announcement.
Most intriguingly the same social media platform also carried a picture of a gentleman bearing more than a passing resemblance to City transfer target Leroy Fer, lunching in Carrow Road’s Yellows restaurant.
Reports emanating from his native Holland have stated that Fer was indeed in Norwich today to have a medical ahead of a five-year deal. All very promising – exciting even – but still comes with the caveat that Everton are yet to disappear entirely from the frame. While the Merseysiders have previously been quoted as his preferred destination, it would appear they are yet to throw their hat into the ring in this particular transfer window. With the same Dutch source that reported the medical also suggesting there will be no official confirmation of the deal until Friday, it looks very much as though Robert Martinez and co have around 24 hours to hijack the deal beyond which Fer could well become a fully-fledged canary.
If it’s possible for there to be a negative in relation to City at the moment, it’s that the long running quest to land Swedish international Ola Toivenon appears to be nearing an unsuccessful end. Reports from across the North Sea suggest that the deal has now hit one snag too many with Toivenon now questioning whether a move to the Premier League is for him. No great surprise given the Swede’s obvious reticence, but it could well dictate that Hughton and McNally turn their attentions elsewhere in the search for more attacking options.
We live in exciting times.