Norwich City in the buyers’ market – the ups and down...
PUBLISHED: 10:25 30 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:25 30 January 2019
The transfer window can be tricky for managers, and Norwich City have had hits and misses – CHRIS LAKEY looks at the top 10 in terms of fees paid
1 Steven Naismith
Age when signed: 29
City career: January 2016-present 33 league starts, 11 as sub, six goals. On loan at Hearts
It should have been a good move – an experienced Premier League player with a bit of attitude, bite, leadership qualities. It started well enough as he scored on his debut, a defeat against Liverpool. But that’s just about as good as it got - it just never worked out did it? Naismith never settled here, unlike many who wore the yellow and green before him and in the end he did become an expensive flop. Footballers are only human and if you can’t settle, you can’t settle. Now in Scotland and just a case of when City and Naismith can sever their ties.
2 Ricky van Wolfswinkel
From: Sporting CP
City career: July 2013- July 2016. 16 (9) 1
Never worked out – and frankly you can’t lay all the blame at his door. His arrival here was so over-hyped it wasn’t funny. The play on his surname suggested City were signing a goal-thirsty wolf. Instead, he was a lamb to the slaughter. It was all so poorly handled. As for his on-field performances, RvW was physically below-strength, the change to English football was too big, Chris Hughton’s direct style didn’t suit and his confidence became shot. A very expensive lesson learned.
3 Alex Pritchard
City career: August 2016-January 2018. 24 (14) 7
Hindsight and all that, eh? Signing Pritchard should have been ideal: just the sort of player City needed, but injuries didn’t help, nor did Pritchard’s ambitions. The fans liked his attitude, liked the way he teamed up with James Maddison. Injury at the start of his second season meant he didn’t appear until November – but apparently he was quickly angling for a move to thew Premier League. He got it, but it left a sour taste given the knock-on effects it had at Carrow Road with other business.
4 Timm Klose
From: VfL Wolfsburg
Fee: 11m Euros
City career: January 2016-present. 95 (2) 9
Admitted he struggled in his first season, but Klose persevered – there was sympathy because he is such a likable chap. The fans like his attitude towards them – he’s perhaps not your average footballing type, whatever that is. Has displayed a lovely turn of phrase in interviews, likes Norfolk and doesn’t appear to do nightclub VIP lounges and bling. Whether City will be able to keep him this summer in light of European interest is another matter – does he want to stay or would that last big move be welcome? Whatever happens, Klose has been an asset.
5 Robbie Brady
From: Hull City
City career: July 2015-January 2017. 56 (3) 7
On his day, Brady was excellent, but those days were few and far between. Spent too much time playing at left back and his game suffered. Lacked consistency. Great free-kick taker. You suspect he took his eye off the ball in the latter months, knowing he would be leaving – and City knew they’d be making a tidy profit. Alex Neil pursued him long and hard – probably wasn’t worth the effort in the end.
6 Leroy Fer
From: FC Twente Enschede
City career: July 2013-August 2014. 28 (2) 3
Let’s face it, Fer didn’t come here with bells and whistles attached. Decent, but sometimes wondered what his best position was. Appears to suffer relegation more often than is normal. It was City’s slide which saw him leave after just one season – and for that reason, it was a bad move.
7 Yanic Wildschut
Fee: 8.2m Euros
City career: January 2017-present. 13 (12) 2. On loan at Bolton.
It is so easy to be over-critical of players, but anyone who saw Wildschut in pre-season at King’s Lynn when he sliced a ball wide of goal in an effort taken from Sunday League football, will understand ... Daniel Farke spoke of Wildschut’s ‘crazy dribbling’ – and that is what it was: crazy and out of control. Out on contract in the summer.
8 Gary Hooper
City career: July 2013-January 2016. 38 (26) 18
Hooper had done well at Celtic and was clearly a player who, in the right system, could score goals: not much more but, hey, if it’s goals you want, he was your man. City chased and chased to get him, but 18 goals in two season was probably half of what they hoped for.
9 Nelson Oliveira
City career: August 2016- present. 42 (23) 19. On loan at Reading.
We’ve had some good times with Nelson, but, clearly, something went bad. It shouldn’t be forgotten he had a purple patch in the winter of 2016-17 that saw him score seven goals in seven Championship games. He continued it at the start of the following season - punctuated by THAT goal celebration at Fulham – but something went wrong somewhere and he is now completely out of the picture.
10 Dean Ashton
From: Crewe Alexandra
City career: January 2005-January 2006. 44 (0) 17
Quality footballer whose career was sadly ended early by injury. Plenty of clubs wanted him while he was at Crewe, where he came through the ranks, but it was Nigel Worthington who landed him. Stockily built, but had bags of style – those who saw his fabulous goal against Manchester City in February 2005 will know that already. Was only here for a year, but it was worth it.
Note: Figures from www.transfermarkt.com