Paddy Davitt: No deadline dramas and that suits Norwich City
PUBLISHED: 17:59 09 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:24 09 August 2018
Norwich City’s top brass opted to stick rather than twist on the first deadline day of the summer. Paddy Davitt assesses whether that was the right call or not.
It might not set the pulse racing or get television executives in a lather, but it was reassuring to see Norwich City let deadline day pass without incident.
No cross-country dashes, no players and their coterie of advisors sweeping into Colney for against-the-clock medicals, no back office staff working overtime to process paperwork.
Stuart Webber and his recruitment team opted not to act.
There will have been phone calls aplenty, for sure, such is the frenzied nature of a deadline day which comes in two parts this summer. That might explain the degree of serenity.
Webber and Daniel Farke can still make loan additions before the end of the month.
More pertinently, those deemed surplus to requirements on the margins can still be sold in markets outside England.
Expect both channels to be activated in the weeks ahead to trim a squad or embellish a revamped group that at this early stage of the season appears to have addressed most of the glaring deficiencies.
Tim Krul’s arrival on a free transfer, to add experience and composure with the ball at his feet, felt like a tipping point for many Norwich fans. The collective mood of the Canary Nation appeared to hover somewhere between caution and concern for most of this summer but the dial is now tacking in the direction of optimism; perhaps even excitement.
There is a gamble to the Krul deal but it is less financial and more whether the Dutch international can recapture the type of form that marked him out as one of the best in the top flight prior to a long term knee injury.
Time may have moved on for him at Newcastle United, given he was playing second fiddle to Matt Ryan last season at Brighton after a previous loan spell in Holland, but at 30 years of age he should be in his prime for a keeper. The Dutch international looks a far more comfortable successor to Angus Gunn than either Remi Matthews or Michael McGovern.
It may have come too soon for Matthews and too late for McGovern at Carrow Road in their respective career paths. Farke, as he so often likes to state, is not in the business of giving out presents.
He was brought to Norfolk to manage seismic change, develop young talent and ultimately produce a team on the pitch capable of success. Defining what success looks like is open to conjecture.
But the summer signings triggered by the departures of James Maddison, Josh Murphy and Marley Watkins carry the potential for collective improvement.
Jordan Rhodes’ arrival underlined the creative edge to Farke and Webber’s thinking.
Sourcing goals was the top priority. Finding options at the right price with proven track records in the second tier of the English game a more complex equation.
Rhodes’ career had meandered at Sheffield Wednesday, as the Owls chased the same dream as Aston Villa and, from the outside at least, appeared to adopt the same high risk financial template. Focus more on his goal ratio from previous job postings, look at his age profile, and factor in the desperation on the striker’s part to get a City loan deal done.
There is a clear parallel between the Rhodes and Krul business. Two operators who have the pedigree to play higher but through circumstance needed a club to take a chance on them.
Kenny McLean and Ben Marshall were also part of this new front in City’s transfer strategy, namely a desire to recruit domestically and bring in players who should need little time to adapt.
The signings of Temmu Pukki and Emi Buendia, allied to the loan arrival of Felix Passlack, illustrate the deftness of touch Webber tried to orchestrate within the financial restraints that impinge on his room for manoeuvre.
Two attack-minded players at different stages of their development carrying the potential to flourish in the same manner Christoph Zimmermann or Tom Trybull took to the Championship.
But a word of warning, before the dial veers wildly into rampant expectation should City build on that opening day point at Birmingham in the weeks ahead.
Watkins appeared to possess the same limitless potential this time last summer, yet his brief and unhappy Norwich career never got out of neutral. James Husband was another from whom big things were expected, but Jamal Lewis’ emergence made for an uncomfortable introduction to life at the Canaries.
Dennis Srbeny, Marco Stiepermann, Mario Vrancic, even two-goal Onel Hernandez only flickered in patches. All four should be better second time around.
Perhaps with creativity in the transfer market comes experimentation on the pitch and patience from those off it.
The real question is whether the quantities required in all three areas even out as this new campaign progresses.
Most City fans will measure progress in league status.
Attacking football and defensive solidity would be desirable adornments.
This is, after all, an entertainment business, despite the tribal loyalty and passionate support.
That will be the real gauge of how successful Norwich have been in this latest transfer window.