Michael Bailey: So who from Saturday stays and goes? Time for the crystal balls
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In his latest weekly column, Norwich City correspondent and PinkUn Show host Michael Bailey takes his crystal ball and wonders what is to come of the Canaries squad following its final Carrow Road outing of the campaign
Whether you’ve been going to Carrow Road for five minutes for 55 years, Saturday was quite the occasion; goodbye to a good man, and a top player. Here’s to you Wesley Hoolahan.
What’s more, we had Wednesday’s news of Alex Tettey signing a new two-year contract. That looked out of reach at Christmas – to the point the man himself effectively ruled it out. Yet, there should be no undermining what that piece of business means to Norwich City.
It’s experience and leadership head coach Daniel Farke can call on, the other side of a summer that will arguably test the Canaries’ model for success to a greater degree than 12 months ago.
So that’s one expected departure, and one excellent signature – but it didn’t take long for attention to start wandering over the other names involved in Saturday’s Leeds win.
So now seems the perfect time to indulge in a few predictions. Bearing in mind so much is still to be decided, no one knows what will definitely happen – but that shouldn’t prevent us getting the crystal balls out and having a look...
• LOANS: Angus Gunn is the obvious place to start.
Given it’s Manchester City’s call over how and where next their young goalkeeper develops, another season doing the same thing in the same place seems highly unlikely. I’d be amazed if he was here next term, regardless of sentimentality.
Harrison Reed’s Premier League contract may make it just as hard to secure his services permanently from Southampton, whose own fate will play a big role. It also feels a bridge too far.
And then there is Moritz Leitner. The remaining loanee is such a good player, he’s been asked to do jobs he maybe doesn’t favour – yet his quality has never been in doubt. With Augsburg seemingly indifferent and the finances on the verge of doable, I can see this happening – albeit at a likely cost, as we will get to.
• OUT OF HERE: And here it is. Let’s be frank – I can see no way James Maddison will still be at Norwich City next season.
From his own talent to the Canaries’ own need to find £15m-plus this summer, it just doesn’t compute. Lose him and scrape enough to secure Leitner, and the blow is somewhat eased.
In truth, the rest come down to who wants who. City will look to ship out those on high wages that haven’t contributed enough – including the likes of Ivo Pinto and Nelson Oliveira, who have been in and out of Farke’s thoughts over recent weeks.
Josh Murphy and Jamal Lewis could also attract some interest.
• HANG IN THERE: But the two interesting names come at the heart of the defence.
Grant Hanley being runner-up in this year’s player of the season voting says it all. His popularity is soaring and influence is growing. Long may that continue.
Alongside that is Timm Klose – for my money the unsung hero of this season given his own improvement, leadership and reliability. Someone who has contributed far more than has been widely recognised.
Alongside Tettey, they all have the ability to give a solid base for what promises to be another summer of significant work across Farke’s squad – and are all necessary ingredients to offer hope of progress.
But as has always been the case with this football club, if only it was that easy.
• Let’s be honest, it would have been ideal if Saturday’s Wes Hoolahanathon and all the trimings of victory over Leeds had signalled the end of the season, there and then.
But sadly football doesn’t do things to be helpful, and so we will all trudge to Hillsborough hoping we still get to leave with a smidge of that positivity in tact.
But if you don’t fancy one more Yorkshire trek, there is a trio of events at Carrow Road that may sort out your football fix.
First up is the inaugural Proud Canaries Cup, tomorrow from 4-7pm with teams from around the country competing – on what is the 20th anniversary of Justin Fashanu’s death.
On Sunday, Carrow Road will host Regency Security’s annual charity tournament from 1pm. Help for Heroes is the cause, with Norwich City’s commercial team set to turn out – and they have a history of playing the odd ringer in the shape of various former City legends. So you never know who you might get to catch.
There is even a Bank Holiday Monday evening treat in store when Soul Church hosts its own charity game – one in which City head coach and former striker Daniel Farke is hoping to nurse his hamstring through, with one-time right-back and sporting director Stuart Webber also pencilled for a run-out.
And if you’re still hungry for more, then there is the Forces2Canaries supporters’ group turning out at Carrow Road on Wednesday evening – if only for the football comedy value of this journalist trying to play the beautiful game for about five minutes before running out of puff.
All of which means there is no reason for anyone to suffer any football withdrawal symptoms from City’s Carrow Road swan song.
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