What could Newcastle United defender Grant Hanley bring to Norwich City?
PUBLISHED: 10:30 30 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:30 30 August 2017
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A commanding centre half with a turn of pace.
Norwich City might just have bagged the defender they so desperately need to steady a defence that has conceded more than any other side in the Championship so far this season.
Grant Hanley is on the verge of signing for the Canaries after agreeing a fee with Newcastle and big things will be expected of the 25-year-old Scotland international.
He will at least have a familiar face in Russell Martin from his time with the national team although it remains to be seen how often the pair play together given head coach Daniel Farke now has quite a few options at the heart of his defence, especially when Timm Klose returns from ankle injury.
But the need to bring in a man who knows the Championship and the physical nature of the division was clear, particularly after the Millwall mauling.
Hanley ticks that box.
Paul Wheelock covered Blackburn Rovers for the Lancashire Telegraph when Hanley made his name before a £5.5m move to Newcastle last summer.
During four seasons watching the centre half he always felt the player was destined for bigger things. “It was no real surprise when Newcastle came in for him when they did – there had been a lot of scouts continually coming to games to watch him,” he said. “The only real surprise I suppose is that he wasn’t given much chance there last season.”
Hanley was made captain by then manager Gary Bowyer at the age of 22 and Wheelock thinks the defender has got the characteristics to make a big impression in the City dressing room.
“He grew into the captaincy – he was made captain at a very young age and I think he adjusted to it very well. In the changing room he was always a big personality and you would hope that he could be a big character for Norwich.
“Even though Blackburn were struggling at the time he was excellent through it all and came through it with his reputation enhanced.”
So what sort of player are Norwich getting?
“He’s actually got a deceptive turn of pace,” said Wheeler. “He doesn’t look the quickest but he’s a bit like Phil Jagielka in that he has got a bit of pace about him. There aren’t too many strikers that get the better of him at Championship level.”