Paddy Davitt: Sergi Canos is part of Norwich City's new wave
PUBLISHED: 08:21 14 July 2016 | UPDATED: 09:40 14 July 2016
Sergi Canos is the latest bright young thing to arrive at Carrow Road. Paddy Davitt says it could be a masterstroke.
Sergi Canos’ signing looks inspired business by Norwich City.
Still only 19, schooled in the Liverpool youth system that produced the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher and with a season of Championship cut and thrust in the bank from a spell at Brentford.
Canos joined the Bees as a highly-promising attacking midfielder but visibly matured in the hard-bitten surroundings of the second tier. City have acquired not just potential but a proven performer who scored seven times in 38 Championship league appearances.
The teenager was rewarded by Jurgen Klopp for his accelerated progress with a Premier League debut in the Reds’ final-day 1-1 draw at West Brom back in May. Canos himself was quick to attribute his senior Liverpool debut to surviving that steep learning curve at Brentford.
Date of birth: February 2, 1997
Birthplace: Nules, Spain
Position: Attacking midfielder
Spent three years at Barcelona’s famed La Masia Academy prior to joining Liverpool as a 16-year-old.
Spanish youth international capped by his country at under 16, 17 and 19 levels.
Made his Liverpool debut in the final game of the 2015/16 Premier League season.
Scored seven goals in 38 appearances on loan at Brentford.
“I remember my debut for Brentford against Leeds. I tried to make a tackle and ended up in the stand. It’s a physical league. But it was good for me,” said the former Barcelona youth prospect, following his maiden bow at the Hawthorns.
“It helped me a lot. It gave me another view of football and how to make your way.”
Now it is Norwich and Alex Neil who will reap the dividend after the City boss used his powers of persuasion to convince Canos Carrow Road is a better finishing school that a clutch of other Championship rivals, headed by Bristol City.
Both clubs were widely reported to have met Liverpool’s initial £2.5million valuation. The add-ons and performance-related clauses may see that figure escalate by another £2m but in the current inflated transfer market that represents astute value for money by Norwich’s top brass.
It is another link in the chain of Neil’s stated aim to not only freshen up a squad who had looked to fray around the margins as relegation from the Premier League for the second time in two seasons became inevitable, but also to inject a youthful dimension.
Canos is another starlet with a burgeoning reputation, in the same mould as James Maddison, who was snatched from the clutches of Liverpool and Tottenham during the promising early stages of his career at Coventry City. Neither may be quite ready to emerge as frontline options and bear the bulk of the load during an arduous promotion push.But Neil proved during his time at Hamilton, in the manner he cultivated the development of James McCarthy and James McArthur, he is a coach who not only can identity young talent but nourish it.
The balancing act, as with so much of what Norwich are striving to do over these coming months, is to marry an admirable willingness to evolve the squad with a thirst for winning games and accumulating points.
Yet there is no doubt even the most pessimistic City fan will edge further forward in their Carrow Road seat watching Canos or Maddison in full flow alongside a Wes Hoolahan or Steven Naismith.
Neil has either inherited or added to a collection of young footballers with the potential to drive Norwich forward – not just for this new campaign but beyond. The Scot has spoken about his desire to build lasting foundations and leave his mark.
Canos and Maddison, Josh and Jacob Murphy, Todd Cantwell, Carlton Morris and Harry Toffolo can potentially spark off each other as part of a new wave.
Relegation unleashes detrimental side effects, but as Canos demonstrated last season on loan at Brentford, the Championship can also act as a catalyst for the next generation.