It’s been a slow-burner of a summer for City fans, but with some of the squad reporting back for duty yesterday, or for fitness testing to be more precise, we should expect some moving and shaking in the next few weeks.
I’m not sure whether Christos Tzolis or Przemyslaw Placheta were among the early arrivals – I suspect not – but both have been mentioned in despatches in the last 24 hours and not because they’re about to be rewarded with new, improved contracts.
For Tzolis, it appears his time here is up.
A move that happened amidst a flurry of flight trackers, fanfares, high hopes and some unusually warm words from Daniel Farke, looks like it could end with a minimum of fuss as he sidles out of the side door in the direction of Brugge.
It would be an undignified end to a City career that never really began, even though the signs were super-promising after that 6-0 spanking of Bournemouth Reserves in the Carabao Cup.
But it was the false dawn of false dawns.
While he may have terrorized the Bournemouth right-back that evening and chipped in with an impressive two goals and two assists, that was pretty much it. There would be no bounce.
The shot of adrenalin afforded him by that heady night last August fizzled away quicker than you could say ‘non-designated penalty taker’.
His tame penalty against Liverpool in the next round of the Carabao was a crime in itself but was made worse by the fact he had wrestled the ball off Adam Idah – aka the designated penalty taker.
He was rightfully taken to task by Farke for such an unprofessional act, and publicly so, but while the head coach appeared keen to eventually move on, Tzolis was never able.
A few underwhelming cameo appearances and, one assumes, some equally underwhelming showings on the training fields of Colney were never going to be enough to get him close to a place in the starting XI.
In Michael Bailey’s piece in today’s The Athletic, there is a suggestion the player – still only a young man – lacked the footballing maturity needed, although there must be a little more to it if the club is unwilling to persevere with a player Farke described as “one of the most exciting offensive players across European football”.
Unsurprisingly, there are clubs out there – mainly on the continent it seems – who are willing to take a chance on Tzolis and who think they can tap into that much-hyped talent.
The Club, while knowing that making a profit on their outlay is out of the question, will be looking to recoup most if not all of that undisclosed fee, thought to be around £8.8 million. With Brugge appearing willing to make it a permanent deal, that would raise some much-needed cash and would hopefully enable Dean Smith to add to the solitary loan signing of Isaac Hayden.
The other, least palatable option, would be a season-long loan with an obligation to buy at the end of the term.
What does look certain is that we’ll not see Tzolis in a City shirt again.
Whether the same can be said of Przemyslaw Placheta remains to be seen. A piece in today’s Pink’Un by our own Sam Seaman suggests that Birmingham City may be looking at the Pole to fill the void left by the returning Onel Hernandez.
Other Championship clubs, as well as some on the continent, are reported by a Polish news agency to also be looking at the player who we signed as a speed merchant but who, like Tzolis, has delivered very little (and not very much speed).
Interestingly, Placheta did get some Premier League action last season – more than his very limited output deserved in truth – and sometimes at the expense of Tzolis, who was several steps behind the Pole in the pecking order of City wide men.
His 12 PL appearances produced little by way of chances or assists and his only goal in a City shirt came early in his time here when scored in a 2–2 draw against Alex Neil’s Preston North End in September 2020.
Other than a couple of clipped sprints, which convinced us all he was Usain Bolt in a football shirt, we have seen hardly anything of his much-talked-about pace, and often his first touch and all-around awareness have denied him the chance to use it.
If he stays, I guess he’ll be part of Dean Smith’s squad and, in fairness, Smith appeared to have more faith in him than most fans last season but, equally, if he starts on a regular basis then it will be a sign all is not well. A team destined for a top-two finish won’t have Placheta in it.
But he’s wholehearted, appears to be a decent guy, and always puts in a shift when called upon. If he goes, it’ll just be another gamble on a relatively modest outlay that didn’t work out.
In terms of incomings, it’s all very quiet right now, presumably, because we need to generate some cash before we can buy, but expect a little online frothing today following news that MK Don’s Scott Twine – a player some City fans would like to have seen at Carrow Road – is about to sign for Burnley for £4 million.
In reality, we have no idea whether or not he was on the club’s radar but he is one who, on the face of it, looked like he’d have been a decent fit here.
At the moment it appears Isaac Hayden is going to be doing a lot of heavy lifting but it is, of course, very early days.
We spend a record amount for a player who we say is for the future,start him in 3 games, decide he’s not good enough and are now desperate to not pay his wages. So next season we will have no £10 million and no player. Remember we didn’t buy Ajer because we thought he was too expensive.
The way Tzolis destroyed Bournemouth last season would suggest that this division would be a good place to build his career.But Dean Smith couldn’t “get a tune” out of him – ditto Gilmour, Normann, Cantwell, Kabak -most of the others underperformed.
It’s strange how we give so much leeway to the manager and write off the players, A bad workman always blames his tools, when he arrived he said that we had a good enough squad to survive,now he is saying we haven’t got a good enough squad to get promoted-same players. Strange too that we think that all the purchases were mistakes but the manager appointment wasn’t. He had more games than Farke last season and certainly would not have survived at any another Prem club. The Midlands press is quoted that he left Villa in a “he’ll of a hole” the same club where Smith couldn’t get a tune out of Buendia,amongst others.
Who knows what a good manager could get out of Placheta? He has shown some good touches,I think he would be a useful squad player. Are Placheta and Tzolis worse than Rowe and Springett? We have got to be able to develop players and that involves patience.
The whole club is a mess, we have players who were supposed to be top potential, playing for their national sides. Now not good enough for Norwich. A manager who I am so unsure of it is untrue. His record isn’t really that good.
two 9th and 1 , 10th spot finishes at Brentford .He signed Smith signed 18 players, during the 16/17 season and wanted more., it is claimed, Smith built an attractive passing style of play on a shoestring budget. but got nowhere.. With the money he spent at Villa, the owners had the right to expect more than a play off victory and scraping survival by the skin of his teeth. In total across three years with Villa, Smith oversaw 139 games. He collected 55 wins but also suffered 56 defeats.
And now our hopes are pinned on him to guide us back as promotion contenders, the records show he can build on a shoe-string but still not win anything, and he knows how to spend money too but with limited success. We have not even got a shoe-string budget, more like a cotton thread one.
I am sorry to say this again, but too many mistakes or perhaps gambles made on a limited budget. Yes every player or manager is a gamble, but the money is scarce as Rocking Horse Poo and likely to remain even scarcer, more care and judgement was needed.
Its not a good look Gary.
As with cantwells non starter of a move to Bournemouth, we look set to get our pants pulled down again with more of the ridiculous option to buy loan things.
We’re left with neither the player or the money and probably cop for some of the salaries too.
In spite of January’s non event of a transfer window baroness hardup is still singing the same old tune about selling before we can buy, exacerbated by webbers shabby effort last summer. the buendia dividend has been completely swallowed up by the dross which replaced him.
I like Placheta for his willingness to keep running in a lost cause, but his decision-making is poor and he rarely plays to his strengths I.e. running at defenders and making them commit. I suspect Tzolis doesn’t want to be here and if so better for all parties that he goes.
Tim Ball says
A very sad end to what promised to be a steal after the Bournemouth League Cup Tie Gary.
We do not know what is going on at the training ground but Tzolis is one I would have given at least this season to see if he can cut it at Championship level.
I would definitely try to sell Sargent, Rashica (he clearly wants away), Placheta, and even Dimi (I have a feeling Sam McCallum may come good) and Pierre especially if the price was right on the last two.
I remember I asked Cameron Jerome (massive name dropping I know😂) what was the problem with Sergi Canos ? a few years back, Lack of confidence I was told by Cam.
Sergi has gone on to have a very good career at Brentford and I just wonder if we are giving up on Tzolis too early like we did with Canos.
Reading Michael Bailey’s piece I do wonder if the club have done all they can to help him settle in. A modest flat ?
Add the horrendous season we had last year, as I have said many times on here it was not the time for so many youngsters brought into the club last summer. It must have been hard for Tzolis in so many ways.
Perhaps he isn’t trying a jot in training and just wants away, then I am afraid the club are correct in trying to recoup their outlay.
But I just hope we don’t get rid of a player who may come good but keep a lot of dead wood.
Seems that Russell Martin got the big defender from MK Don’s city were interested in and has now shelled out for another defender city are interested in from Belgium so it seems we are being out played in the recruitment stakes.
We all know young players take time to settle and coming into a city team in such poor form last season couldn’t have been helpful, so ditching or cutting our loses on these young players seems a poor solution giving them to January they just might surprise everyone.
Just goes to show that Webber gets a lot more wrong than he does right!
I’ve been happy with Webber prior to last season and thought he had performed well but I’d have to say that the best part of £40 million has been wasted.
I think if anybody in a forward thinking business with Norwich’s turnover had wasted this amount then decisive action would have been taken by the board. The fact our board have done nothing except to allow the person responsible to pursue other interests outside the club demonstrates a complete lack of backbone.
We’re receiving parachute payments, been in the premier league last season and told we are in negotiations with new investors. If this is true how come the club still looks poor by championship standards?
I fear our future next season seems to rely more on fingers crossed than any clear plan for desperately needed team strengthening.
Inside Right says
If we end up having a net spend 0f zero – or less – that tells you all you need to know where the club’s priorities are and that would certainly not be the EPL. They just aren’t interested.
Dean Smith couldn’t get a tune out of Webber’s impaired purchases, so there should not be an automatic assumption that he – or anybody else – can in the second tier either.
Nothing the club is doing fills me with confidence.
We are always crying out for money be spend but the fact is free transfers and £400 000 signings we have been way better then any players we’ve spent millions on and the before mentioned have been plenty good enough for Premier as proved several times before so please no more multi million pound players here it doesn’t work for us !