The pace of transfer activity stepped up another gear tonight as City chief Chris Hughton welcomed a Premier League old hand to Norfolk – only to be slightly over-shadowed by intriguing events at Villa Park.
The arrival of 30-year-old Argentinian international Jonas Gutierrez had long been trailed as the Canary boss returned to his former haunts to bring in much-needed experience into his injury-plagued midfield.
A midfield that found Javier Garrido slammed into the left-side slot ahead of Martin Olsson at Goodison Park on Saturday as the Canary boss looked to add an older head to the mix – albeit at the expense of the kind of exhuberance of youth that a Nathan Redmond or a Josh Murphy bring to the party.
Less expected was Paul Lambert’s reported move this evening for former City hero Grant Holt on a similar loan move from Wigan Athletic where the 32-year-old has made just nine league starts since his £2 million summer switch to the Latics, scoring just two goals in the process.
Injury has limited his impact, but tonight’s shock move from the hard-pressed Lambert – Villa missing out by the odd goal at home to Arsenal tonight – is surely more about the character that Holt will bring to the dressing room just as much as his ability to find the net at Premier League level.
In many ways the two moves are not dissimilar – both managers are turning to players they know and trust to help dig them out of a hole.
The theory was that it was Wes Hoolahan, not his old side-kick Holt that Lambert would turn to in his hour of need.
But with the Canaries firmly rebutting Villa’s approach, so the Scot turned his attentions north with Holt reported to be due a medical in the Midlands tomorrow.
Whether his arrival will be used a fresh bait to try and lure Hoolahan along the A14 remains to be seen.
Either way, spring is not going to be for the faint-hearted at the foot of that table where six points now separates 11 sides from the dreaded drop.
It is not the time to place your faith in kids – as Hughton has been forced to do on either flank with the injuries to the likes of Anthony Pilkington and Elliott Bennett.
Hence the arrival of a player with 200 games under his belt for the Magpies; someone well versed in the cauldron of noise and expectation that comes with playing at St James’ Park on a regular basis.
“He’s somebody that will certainly bring experience – he’s played close to 200 games for Newcastle so he knows the Premier League very well,” Hughton told the City website tonight as he made his first move in this month’s transfer window.
“He’s been in England for five years, so there won’t be that settling in period that you would have with some other players,” he added. “That’s important, particularly in January when you need players that can go straight into the squad.”
Gutierrez has struggled to play regularly under Alan Pardew as the Magpies chief sets his stall out along younger, French lines.
“I’m happy to be here. It’s an opportunity for me to get back in the game and to try and do my best for the team,” said the latest Carrow Road arrival.
“Personally I want to do the right things on the pitch and win my place, and then for the team we want to finish as high as we can. It’s a tough league, all the games are difficult, but we have a good opportunity.”