Chris Goreham: Only time will tell how good City's transfer window has been
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
An international break has given Norwich City supporters a bit of time to reflect since the transfer window Klosed last week.
I say Klosed as a mark of respect to the great Timm Klose, who left the club on deadline day.
He was big, he was Swiss but, despite what they used to sing, he never did buy a house in Diss. It’s probably a good job he avoided the Norfolk/Suffolk border given the stoppage time equaliser against Ipswich Town in 2018 that guaranteed his status as a Carrow Road cult hero.
Klose’s time as a regular starter for Daniel Farke had long gone, as was the case with Alex Tettey in May. It is though another big Canary character who has emptied his locker at Colney and handed his peg in the dressing room to someone else.
The timing of Klose’s departure is interesting because he was one of the players who arrived the last time Norwich City had a shot at being big spenders in the Premier League.
January 2016 also saw the arrivals of Steven Naismith and Ivo Pinto. Matt Jarvis’ loan deal was made permanent and Patrick Bamford arrived too. It was the window that was supposed to give Alex Neil the ammunition he needed to ensure Premier League survival. City had won at Old Trafford just before Christmas. Then, after beating Aston Villa and Southampton at home, they were 14th in the table on January 2 and six points clear of the bottom three. Yet, despite the January spend-up, they were relegated.
Why am I bringing up such doom and gloom? There wasn’t even a Norwich City defeat at the weekend. The point is that for the first time in more than five years the Canaries find themselves having properly splashed the cash.
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The squad looks exciting. With Ozan Kabak, Brandon Williams and Billy Gilmour joining we could see Norwich fielding a starting XI including players who were part of Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea’s first team squad last season. Add to that the intriguing addition of Mathias Normann and the money spent on Josh Sargent, Milot Rashica and Christos Tzolis.
Even the bright young players who have defied many expectations by staying, Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell, have over 100 games worth of experience each.
Emi Buendia might have gone but it’s difficult to argue that Daniel Farke has been handed a much deeper squad to take on the Premier League than he had two years ago.
It’s inevitable that you’ll hear the received wisdom that Norwich never spend any money in the Premier League and just accept relegation when it all starts again at the weekend.
There is a difference between accepting relegation and accepting that it’s a possibility one should have a contingency for. After all it’s going to happen to three teams this season for certain.
It’s highly unlikely that any of the traditional big six will go. Let’s keep Arsenal on that list for now to avoid tempting fate at the weekend. It’s also difficult to imagine Leicester, Everton, Leeds or West Ham struggling on current form.
So that means that three out of the remaining ten teams will be in the Championship next season. It’s pragmatic to admit that your number could be up in May while at the same doing all you can to make sure you are one of the seven survivors winning the chance to do it all again next year.
It means that Norwich City’s transfer business has to be done with an eye on the future.
Like all the best snooker players, they need to be a couple of moves ahead. Look at the Liverpool and Manchester City sides who put Norwich to the sword during that bruising first couple of weeks of the season. The only academy product to start for the big boys in those two games was Trent Alexander-Arnold. That’s unless you count Raheem Sterling who was spotted by Liverpool as a youngster before being sold to Man City.
The other 20 starters must all have come from somewhere. The recruitment challenge now for Norwich is to spot these future stars on the way up. It’s something that Leicester and Southampton have made into an art form in recent years.
The Klose transfer window of January 2016 also saw the arrivals of a couple of youngsters. Ben Godfrey from York City and James Maddison from Coventry City. The club wouldn’t be where it is now without the services and ultimately the transfer fees raised by those two.
It could be a while before we know how successful this summer really was for Norwich City.
To those of us who are old enough to remember football before 1992, Arsenal away is an evocative fixture.
Norwich City haven’t won there since the very first day of the Premier League.
A sensational victory from 2-0 down to win 4-2 at Highbury in Mike Walker’s first game in charge. It started the most dizzying couple of years that Canary fans have every experienced.
Much has changed since then. Many Norwich fans will have watched the comeback unfold while standing outside the window of a television shop in the city centre.
The digital age has dispersed the crowds that used to follow Grandstand’s Vidiprinter in silence while out shopping when the Canaries were away.
It would be lovely to think that beating the Gunners again could spark a similar adventure for this new look Norwich.
A third-place finish doesn’t seem possible now though does it?
The Premier League has grown into quite the beast since August 1992.
Back then Alan Shearer had just moved from Southampton to Blackburn Rovers for an incredible £3.6 million. You have to say that in the style of Dr Evil from the Austin Powers films to get its full impact.
Full marks as well if you can name the top London team from that season.
It wasn’t Arsenal who slumped to a disappointing 10th. Chelsea came 11th in the years before they were attracted to a Russian billionaire and Spurs were eighth under Doug Livermore and Ray Clemence.
They were all outstripped by good old Queen’s Park Rangers who finished in fifth place.