Since the end of last season, as City concluded 2021-22 with that dismal relegation while Huddersfield went all the way to the Championship Play-Off final, the future of Danel Sinani and what role (if any) he may play in Dean Smith’s team has become a hot topic among City fans.
The question being asked is whether the Luxembourg international holds the key to revitalising some of City’s attacking shortcomings, so visible throughout last season.
Sinani was highly decorated from his time in Luxembourg and became an ever-present for F91 Dudelange, scoring a handful of vital goals in both the Champions League and the Europa League, as well as collecting multiple team accolades after initially signing from Racing FC Union Luxembourg in 2017.
He would go on to win two Luxembourg National Division titles and the Luxembourg Cup, even winning the 2019 Luxembourg Footballer of the Year award.
During the 2019-20 campaign, Sinani netted 14 times in 16 league outings, culminating in Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke sealing his move to Norfolk in the April of 2020, during the early stages of the pandemic and while football had been temporarily halted.
He penned a three-year deal taking him through to the summer of 2023.
However, back-to-back loans would follow for Sinani, firstly to Waasland Beveren in Belgium (now named SK Beveren). He ended that campaign with four goals and one assist in 21 appearances, but it proved a challenging season littered with bright patches for the then 23-year-old, but ended in relegation from the Belgian top flight.
It began with early promise after a couple of fine individual displays, but a hip injury would dictate the majority of Sinani’s campaign, who found himself regularly sidelined and only able to reintegrate himself into the team in the final stages of the season.
That positive personal end to the campaign followed an excellent international showing, with the midfielder netting three times during the March international break. Sinani would get his chance back in the first team picture after a goal and a man-of-the-match substitute appearance against KV Oostende.
Eventually, with a regular role in the team at the back end of the campaign, he was able to showcase his ability, showing a more gritty side to his game, and producing his best running metrics in the final game of the season and the first play-off away leg against RFC Seraing – running over 11km in both games.
Despite that positive end to his season, Sinani was still deemed surplus to requirements by Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke, who opted once again to loan out the Luxembourg international.
This time it was to Carlos Corberan’s Huddersfield Town, a move that included an option to buy for the Terriers at the end of the season – a possible hint that Webber and Farke saw Sinani’s immediate future away from Carrow Road.
However, this would be where he would catch the eye of the City faithful.
It would go on to be a season of consistent football for the now 25-year-old, making 39 league appearances, contributing six goals and three assists as Corberan’s Terriers became the surprise package of the Championship.
They were in the playoff picture throughout the campaign, only falling short of a return to the Premier League after defeat by Nottingham Forest in the Play-Off Final.
Sinani put in a standout performance in the semi-final first leg away against Luton Town, where he would fire the visitors in front with a well-drilled finish inside Matt Ingram’s near post.
But with Huddersfield losing out on the riches of promotion to the Premier League, they opted, despite that productive spell, against signing Sinani on a permanent deal.
As a result, his return to Norfolk ahead of pre-season was eagerly anticipated by some City fans.
After being given an extended break due to end-of-season internationals with Luxembourg, he rejoined Dean Smith’s group in their Grassau training-season camp, reportedly impressing Smith and his coaching staff with his playing style.
After the 2-2 draw with SSV Jahn Regensburg, Smith complimented the ‘picture’ Sinai sees before he receives the ball, as well as his one and two-touch play, something also evident in the pre-season training videos.
Given the plethora of attacking options at Smith’s disposal, Sinani will have to impress further throughout pre-season, and it’s no secret that there will need to be some trimming of the first-team squad in order to meet the squad size regulations as well as allowing for incomings.
We’ve already seen a departure in the attacking department with Przemyslaw Placheta moving to Birmingham City, and there’s been much debate around the futures of returning loanees Onel Hernandez and Jordan Hugill.
However, due to the club’s limited financial resources, it provides an opportunity for someone like Sinani, who’s been mainly on the periphery, to thrust himself into the limelight and play a part in firing City back to the top flight.
He has the technical capabilities to fill that Emi Buendia-sized hole, as well as other capabilities similar to that of the Argentinian, like a willingness to work hard, a sharpness in the tackle, and an eye for a pass – all qualities that were so lacking last season as Farke and Smith struggled to find an able supporting cast for Teemu Pukki.
So… do we now have an attacker who can tick those boxes?
I sense that Dean Smith thinks so, and so do I.
What do you think?
Having friends in Huddersfieldplus catching every streaming game they had, I came toconclusion he is way too good to let go. He was given a free role to wander across the park, forcing the play, he did also cover defenders. Perhaps not in a rigid was but more of where he saw the cover was need.
Passing and little one & two touch was very good quaility, plus he knew where the goal was.
My friends up there thought the world of him, of they have one really stand player who has caught the imagination and coverage .Lewis OBrien, had he not been highlighted so much, Sinani may well have been. which is probably a very good thing for Norwich
All in I was surprised he was not given his chance, it took a very successful time in Yorkshite for him to really get noticed. It is down to him to grab it and kick-on
A definite maybe this one. His time in the Chump with HUD is a big plus, he’s earned his chance and at the mo his nearest rival is Cantwell.
Spanish Canary says
Great piece Jack
I think the lad has earned an opportunity.
It’s the last year of his contract so we won’t get much of a return if we move him on and how many in our squad have Champions League experience?
Give him a run in the squad with a promise of a new contract in January if it works out or a move if it doesn’t
It could just be as good as a new signing or another example of “one that got away” if we “bottle it”
Don’t think we have much to lose but possibly a lot to gain
Your main issue all the time is that your clearly best player does not want to play anymore for Norwich. Still your obviously idiot manager forces him to play also against very low level clubs, where he gets injured. Its obvious that low level amateur players will tackle late someone like Pukki. Your club has become very strange since Farke left. A player who does not want to stay, its always the best solution to let him leave. A very unhappy player does not play at his level. This issue Norwich must fix first and then you can start thinking what role Sinani or whoever might play. If your plan really is to stick with Pukki no matter what, it proves very clearly that your club has zero faith in other players talent.
Hi 1×2. I asked a few days ago if you were a close friend or member of Pukki’s family, as you seem to have certain knowledge of his feelings and desires, but I don’t think you replied. You clearly are a big fan of his, so it would be interesting to know how close you actually are to him. For your information, the knock he took late in the game against Kings Lynn was not from an amateur player. They are a professional outfit, although at lower level, having just been relegated from the league one level below League 2.
Hi Jim, there are enough Teemus interviews made during his time with the national team. Interviews are made in finnish and its his mother language and in the mother language express their feelings. Everyone who has at least some common sense can see that everything is not right at all. The interviewer even tries to even cheer him up by saying that in championship you will score plenty of goals and Norwich have won that league 2 times, it does not cheer him up. Its more like dont try to put words in my mouth reaction and obviously he is not interested in discussing Norwich at all. Main reason for interview was the national team of course, everything is fine for him in national team but obviously players are getting questions about their clubs which they represent. These are very informative stuff, Pukki was not only one who made it. Players here spoke how they really feel and that is of course the idea of those interviews. Its obvious cultural difference to Britain. Of course we also know here what kind of personalities they are at least a certain level. Our player pool is not that large and many have played with or against them or have coaching experiences. Their personal life is their personal life, of course if someone has a drug or alcohol problem its widely known without any press interviews. Teemus interview was not the most interesting or shocking one, very interesting stuff some players said about their football life abroad so thanks to those we know more than local fans who knows usually only the cover. After the national team games Teemu has been seen partying and waving albanian flag in Pristina. He wants a move, I dont know or care what his agents wants. If someone believes that his agents want to bring chaos to Norwich, they are very wrong.
Our women euro 2022 broadcasting studio started with nice drama. 1 of the tv pundits was national team second coach and she had resigned. She told her feelings about it and how badly she felt the head coach had treated her. Head coach who is swedish has refused to comment, because its not part of their culture. If she would be finnish, she surely would have given her own view of things to the public and by that she would get some respect here.
So, everyone knows here that Teemu wants to leave. Your friendly vs that low level club has been in several media here because some of the players tackled Teemu and you let that happen and because his situation is what it is in Norwich now. We see him as a prisoner.
Keith B says
Whilst obviously none of us want to see him leave there would be one major advantage if he did – we’d no longer have you jumping in here writing a load of rubbish.
That’s a very rude response to someone who has been a regular on here. Totally unnecessary.
Thanks for your very full reply, 1×2. You obviously get a different perspective on it hearing interviews in your own language.
I would make the point to you that all teams start their preseason training with matches against “lower” level teams, but whatever the level, it’s still a football match, and players will get tackled. There’s no way to prevent that in any game, and although I don’t want to see any of our players injured, that’s a risk that has to be taken, or they’ll never get match fit.
I hope you’re wrong with your perception of Teemu’s views, and although you see it as keeping him prisoner, he did sign a contract, and the club are entitled to see him honour it.
Hi Jim, I can understand playing training games vs lower level clubs depending how those lower level clubs play. If I watch english non-league clubs playing FA Cup games, their playing style is always quite similar and based on ball fighting with plenty of headers and so on…. you do know what I mean. So the way they play makes my opinion no sense for the club which was last season in the premier league to play against someone like that. In Finland we dont play training games or cup games vs lower level league clubs. The reason behind that is injuries, even the playing style would be short passing style which is what we play here. In theory its possible that lower level clubs can win so many rounds in cup that they get a chance to play vs the highest level club. That is very rare. So basically the highest level clubs lowest level opponent is second level in cup games. So my strong reaction and actually our press reaction too is surely based on different football culture. We just dont understand why on earth to play such a game and why to play your best player is even more difficult to understand.
Once again I try to explain why Teemu wants so much to leave. He obviously lacks motivation to play in the championship again. Norwich playing style has changed because the manager has changed. Teemu has said that he wants to enjoy when he plays football, with Buendia he had someone to enjoy when playing. So Norwich as a city is not a problem or I have never heard him saying anything negative about the city or life there. So reasons are purely professional and motivation problems. He is 32 now and really now he must leave. So there is no hate towards Norwich in Finland, we just want him to move on now and it looks like he prefers to do the same. Pukki by the way is not my favorite player but a reason to watch Norwich games. The same way as you get frustrated when Norwich keeps on losing in the premier league, it frustrates me too. The same way I can watch some other finnish national team player playing a game wherever league he happens to play. Sometimes a league game somewhere can be very entertaining to watch, Typically people would like to know what the playing level is in different leagues, its impossible to compare. No one cant do that because every country has their own playing style how they play their league games. That makes football very fascinating.
Im honestly surprised how many of you want even a foreign player like Pukki to stay. There are so many players in the world and players change clubs all the time. I suppose there is something else that he is just a good player behind that.
Gary Gowers says
We simply want him to stay because he’s a great striker – the like of which we rarely see in a Norwich shirt – and because, to us, at the moment he’s irreplaceable. He’s worth so much more to us than any fee we’d generate by selling him. And despite the media in Finland portraying us as hostile captors, I don’t get that same sense of him being desperate to depart and being held against his will. He did sign that one-year contract extension after all.
Gary, actually he didnt sign. Norwich activated contract extension. Basically we can surely say that he would have not signed and was believing that Norwich let him leave free after last season.
Gary Gowers says
Ok, fair enough, but is really as unhappy as you suggest? You know this?
That is a tough question Gary right now. He is surely very disappointed if he has to play championship football again. Now it looks like the most likely outcome that he will at least start in championship.
He has a history of becoming uninterested. That is what im trying to warn you. He will not start rebelling in a direct way. He was very unfit when he moved from Sevilla to HJK and it didnt look like he would be interested in changing that. I believe Berat Sadik who also came back to Finland had a big impact, because he liked to play with him and they became close friends. In Schalke Jefferson Farfan became a very close friend to him and he liked a lot to play with him. Its possible that Buendia leaving still hurts him, he lost at close friend who he had chemistry also in the pitch. In the national team he is very close with Robin Lod and prefers to play with him too a lot. I kind of believe that the picture that Norwich fans have about him is different from what we have in Finland. You have only had great years with him and he has been very reliable. So its very strange when hearing that he is an example of a professional player for younger players.
Firstly Pukki in under contract to play for city and he needs to be match fit for the start of the season in a few weeks.
Dean Smith has said he expects him to stay so secondly has the club had any offers that tempt them to sell.
Rumours only that and until an offer is made no decision on his or any other player can be made unless you expect Norwich to allow him to walk on a Free.
I don’t think one city supporter would blame Pukki for leaving to play at a higher level and would wish him all the best, he has a value that has to be met so unless you know of any offers shouting about city keeping hold of him is irrelevant.
He isn’t a prisoner and if he wants to leave he only needs to tell the club his time at city has come to an end or will he see out the last year of his contract and go on a Free only time will tell
The problem is Norwichs asking price. Lower that and accept what you get. He is a prisoner basically, what else? This situation now does not favor either side and Norwich club owners and board should use some common sense remembering too how much Teemu has already given to the club.
Gary Gowers says
He’s a very well-paid “prisoner”, 1×2, and is, of course, still under contract. As far as I’m aware, he signed it of his own free will.
Tim Ball says
Cannot disagree more 1×2.
As I have said before even with £ 30 million in the bank for Teemu, which we wouldn’t get, could we guarantee getting someone who will get 25 goals + in the Championship ? No way !
You say it isn’t fair on Teemu. I am sorry but just like when Harry Kane signed his latest contract at Spurs, Teemu could or should have stipulated a sell on fee within that contract. Or not signed the additional year.
Both Norwich and Teemu were happy with his present contract and I am sure his deal was higher in wages due to the extra year.
Teemu can walk away next season and command a great salary, who gave him the platform to do that Norwich City Football Club. I would like to see the club offer him a extra two year deal, but then it will be up to Teemu whether he accepts that or heads for pastures new as a Canary legend either way..
I find it incredulous that you say that Dean Smith made him play against Kings Lynn, is our manager going to say “its a bit to physical for you today Teemu old son” never in a million years.
Teemu is employed by Norwich City football club and being fit and healthy he does what his manager tells him to do, as I had to when I was working.
Do I feel sorry for Teemu regarding last season’s campaign ? yes of course I do as well as I feel sorry for Grant Hanley. Does that mean we sell them because we feel sorry for these players ?
No way, you would have to be a complete idiot. Verging on a visit from the men in white coats.
Tim, you are right that he made mistake when he accepted that 1 year extension to his contract. He should have made a 2 years contract where he can leave free after 1 season if Norwich gets relegated. Agents are not players, they want to make deals and its easy for someone to say that just stay that you get paid. Long term contracts should be made only if its financially huge.
Teemu has been in great shape, so no matter which club he would have represented he would have been very effective. Lucky for Norwich he didnt understand what professionalism is until later in his career.
Its complete idiotic to play games vs so much lower lever league clubs which playing style is also based on trying and fighting. Games like that can only offer injuries and that happened. If he cant play this season thanks to that tackle, was it a great intelligent decision or what? Also your other players didnt go to hurt that player who made that tackle, it tells a lot about your squad and Smith. Smiths comments about Teemu and this indicates that things are not ok at all between them. If manager/coach goes against the star player he always loses that fight. I do remember your swiss striker commenting his time in Norwich that you forced him to stay injured even though he was fully healthy and ready to play. What a joke! I understand that you support your club, supporting does not mean accepting all kinds of unfair decisions your club makes. Its time that Teemu really starts pushing to get away with or without some agents. He owes nothing to his agents and has not written a contract to play under Smith. With Norwich he can only lose, there is nothing he can win.
Could I go back to Danel? We seemed to gone to some trouble to sign this player – call me an old romantic but he has such an interesting back story. I’d love him to get his chance with us I think he would a great addition not to just the squad but the team. Proven at Championship as well as International level – what’s not to get excited about?
Mystic kev says
Yes sinani could be the replacement for cantwell as I don’t see him cutting it here anymore unless there is a big attitude change . Can see sinani and the happy pukki of two months ago from his own lips getting a good understanding just need a few injury free players to help them out!⚽
Mikey B says
St Daniel had a tendency to dismiss players far too quickly and as soon as he did they were effectively ‘dead’ to him. There are plenty of examples but Tzolis is a classic.