Now the three-times-a-party scenario is over, we have to dig into *what are we going to do next season* territory. In the first of a three-part series I have enlisted the help of my regular posse to garner their thoughts on what we can hope for before the transfer window has opened, and there’s a long way to go between here and June 9.
Later we’ll present a mid-window review, and then conclude with a final offering when all our ins and outs are complete.
Without further ado it’s over to Alex A [aka Ed], Alex B, Bernie Owen and Cutty
Alex A: Let’s start with the players who are almost certain to stay, as in Tim Krul, a great goalkeeper and an important member of the squad with his experience. Grant Hanley – lifting the Championship trophy twice in three years is priceless. Ben Gibson – an inspired signing and I expect him to go from strength to strength next season. Kenny McLean – formed a formidable partnership with Ollie Skipp in midfield and who can forget his sublime pass to Max Aarons which led to Emi Buendia’s goal against Barnsley?
Kieran Dowell looks like another inspired signing and wants to prove himself in the Premier League. Jacob Sorensen – as a result of the incredible success of Skipp, he has had little chance to prove himself in his preferred midfield rôle. Possibly an upgrade required? Lukas Rupp provided assists against Forest and Brum and I expect him to improve with a full pre-season. Teemu Pukki is an incredible goalscorer. A very minor criticism is that he could convert more chances when one on one with the opposition GK [except Reading!]. Effective backup is essential.
I’m not convinced Zimbo or the Stieperdude are good enough for the Premier League, while PrzemysławPlacheta and Onel Hernandez could both prove useful subs with their pace against tiring defenders and in case of injuries/suspensions. Jordan Hugill? We need an upgrade on the GOAT’s understudy.
There are three players who may leave if the Price is Right, as in Aarons – he has consistently delivered, both defensively and in an attacking rôle. If he leaves, he will do so with the best wishes of everyone in the Canary Nation. Todd Cantwell had that *chat* with DF and has since become an integral part of the team. Buendia – POTS and Championship POTS! I’m quietly optimistic that either TC or Emi will stay. However, if both stay?
I’m expecting three or four new signings and they’ve probably already been identified. One of them has to be a striker and will be expensive.
Alex B: Where do we start on aspirations for next season? Well, I suppose the end of this one, which had a sad ending for Skipp, Pukki and Kenny McLean.
Pukki will be back next season after a hopefully good Euros ready to fire City to a long stay in the Pound Means Everything League while Skipp has become a fans favourite without playing in front of a packed stadium. He will be a sad loss but maybe we might get a second loan season from Spurs? Alex Tettey and Mario Vrancic will not get the sendoff they both deserve and we can only hope they have a good impact wherever they land up for their remaining career.
Like many, I realise that finances will be the key to success and we surely already have large outlays as in bonuses for promotion and promised buys that are already in the house so what’s left must be prudently spent.
Firstly we must secure Team Farke to another contract and hopefully Stuart Webber might prolong his time at Carrow Road for a couple more seasons to ensure we continue on this path [Sadly I’m not convinced of that – Martin].
As with all teams the new Brexit transfer rules have now been in place for a year so unlike the rest of Europe, players have to meet a set standard to get a work permit so many clubs will be looking at homegrown players. My biggest hope is that City not only hold on to our top talent but also resist losing potential talent to the top clubs, especially the likes of Andrew Omobamidele.
Finishing position next season? 15th.
Bernie: Where to now? Gibson and Giannoulis will be signed on as agreed. The need for incoming players to strengthen is determined by outgoings. With no transfers out we need another centre back, a holding defensive midfielder [maybe two?], a proven #10 to push Dowell and a proven striker to cover for Pukki.
If transfers out are needed to fund purchases it makes sense for Max to be the first sold as Bali Mumba looks a decent replacement, and if Sam Byram can’t recover a further full back is on the shopping list. Second out the door would be Todd but only because he’s more replaceable than Emi.
So its over to the transfer wranglers to do their stuff and get the ins and outs done asap for Daniel to mould the cohesiveness needed. Time for me to look an eejit, I reckon a 13th place finish.
Cutty: “Here we go, here we go!” Only this time we have Farkeball 2.0, and Webbo’s cunning plan mark 2.0.
Firstly the cunning plan, we shall be strengthening the squad. Not enough dosh to bring in superstars but hopefully a few gems who will hit the ground running, and we have one or two youngsters ready to step up to the plate yet again, at least three by my reckoning. Assuming the famous trio will leave and Skipp will not be coming back that leaves us with a clutch of remainers who are capable enough with the additional strengthening for the Prem.
Secondly, Farkeball 2.0 is producing better results than mark I, so enough said – that leaves luck and the opposition. Our Premier League luck last time around was atrocious. Remember [or rather don’t] the injuries at the start of our last Prem season, gotta be better this time around? The opposition? Well against the top eight we might get the occasional draw and perhaps a shock win or two. The remaining 11 are a mixed bag, say half of them our mark 2.0 Canaries can outperform.
So my kiss of death prediction, 14th. I’m nervously confident, and it’s the only game in town, sorry for using a nasty word. City, City.
A huge thanks to the famous four and they’ll be back at the end of June to discuss how the squad is shaping up.