Ivo Pinto can be a steal for Norwich City
07:00 09 January 2016
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2016
Alex Neil is convinced Ivo Pinto will prove the real deal at Norwich City.
The attacking right-back completed his switch from Dinamo Zagreb for an undisclosed fee to become Neil’s second signing of the window, after sealing a permanent transfer for Matt Jarvis.
Pinto featured for Zagreb in the Champions League earlier this season and that pedigree is priceless to the Canaries’ chief.
“The one thing he will give us is real athleticism,” said Neil. “He is really quick and he has got good legs to get up and down that right flank. The fact is when you look at domestic players, in terms of the value for money, and you compare that with a guy who has played in the Champions League this season, played against Arsenal and Bayern Munich, been an under-21 international for Portugal and still has his best years ahead of him then really he ticks all the right boxes for us.
“One of the things which helped us sign him is that he was involved in the Champions League. We watched him in the flesh at Arsenal, when he played against the likes of Alexis Sanchez, and we watched him against Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich so we have seen him against a high calibre of opposition.”
Neil is keen to let Pinto adapt to the fast-paced football culture in England.
“It is important for him he acclimatises to the speed of the English game because it is very different from where he has come from,” he said. “Once he does that, he will be fine. He was registered in time to play in the FA Cup, however, he has only trained once with the rest of the team and Zagreb is just off the back of their mid-winter break as well, so its not as if he has come straight from playing a game last weekend. I think probably this week might be a bit early; maybe a couple of weeks.”
Neil rejected suggestions he is now top heavy in that area of his squad with Russell Martin, Steven Whittaker and Andre Wisdom all operating in the same position this season.
“Sometimes you have maybe five or six key areas to strengthen and perhaps a lower priority crops up and it comes to the stage where if you don’t strengthen you might have a problem,” he said. “Right-back is a position we have got some players there, but I feel we need to add a bit of competition. Russ can play at centre back, Andre can do that as well. It is all about making sure we are strong as we can be.”