Can Norwich City pick up a bargain in the Championship freebies?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Marley Watkins was the first signing of the new Norwich era 12 months ago on a free transfer. Paddy Davitt scans the current list of Championship options.
Daniel Farke spent the majority of the final Championship games dodging questions about Norwich City's transfer plans this summer.
But with Football League clubs already able to put deals in place and the domestic window for Premier League clubs opening today, words will start to give way to actions.
Given the January pursuit of Den Haag full-back Tyronne Ebuehi, allied to the contractual uncertainty around Ivo Pinto and the return to sender of Harrison Reed, a right back appears an essential item. So too a striker to furnish the pretty patterns and address the chronic lack of goals.
Webber has scouts at home and abroad looking to tap markets where City can get the most bang for their buck.
But there are many strands to Norwich's strategy.
The Premier League loan route proved profitable in the shape of Reed and Manchester City keeper Angus Gunn.
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The Canaries have also made astute use of free agents.
Christoph Zimmermann and Tom Trybull were both enticed to this country and it is worth reiterating the very first arrival of the Farke/Webber era was another free agent in Marley Watkins.
Farke said prior to the finale at Sheffield Wednesday the planning for this upcoming window started in earnest last autumn. Expect Webber's recruitment team to be fully briefed on the list of free agents plying their trade in the second tier last season.
It numbers more than 100.
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt picks out five potential options, who not only could plug holes but add up on the balance sheet.
• Billy Jones
A season to forget at Sunderland perhaps, given the Wearsiders' slump into League One, but right-back Jones would add some much-needed experience to the Canaries' backline. Still only 31, he spent six seasons in the Premier League with West Brom and then the Black Cats and has now made more than 440 league appearances, since his debut at Crewe in 2003.
Farke and Webber want a core of young talent with the potential to add value on and off the pitch, but equally the head coach recognised the need for experience in the re-signing of Alex Tettey.
Jones is another who has been around the block.
• Andy Yiadom
Played for Barnsley in both draws against Norwich last season.
Athletic right-back with the same attacking tendencies as Pinto, who can also be deployed as a winger. The 26-year-old only came to the professional game relatively late, after spells in non league with Hayes, Braintree and Barnet.
Last season was his third in the professional ranks. Being touted with a reunion with Paul Heckingbottom at Leeds.
Ghana international who made his debut in the 2017 African Cup of Nations.
• Sammy Ameobi
Bolton wide player was too good for Norwich in the Trotters' 2-1 Championship win back in November. Farke identified him as the stand-out performer, which is why he came in for much closer attention in the 0-0 Carrow Road return.
Physically imposing but possesses speed, trickery and that ability to produce something off-the-cuff.
Operates nominally down the right flank but can also switch centrally. Sure to be in demand this summer. At 26, should be approaching his prime, after coming through along with his older brother at Newcastle.
• Adam Hammill
Another from the Oakwell stockpile. Norwich may think twice after Watkins' lacklustre debut season at Carrow Road, but Hammill perhaps has more technical ability and cunning to his wing play.
The former Liverpool trainee is surprisingly being linked with a move the Australian A-League, after five years at Barnsley in two spells, but at 30 should be capable of influencing Championship games.
Looks to have the game intelligence to operate both centrally and on the flanks. Decent set piece delivery.
• Jamie Mackie
Given those links to Middlesbrough's Jordan Rhodes and rising speculation around Nelson Oliveira's future since the end of the season, if City want a frontman to act as a mentor to Dennis Srbeny or Carlton Morris you could do worse than Mackie.
Would inject that real physical presence required in the Championship on certain occasions.
The 32-year-old has notched 69 league goals from 300 starts and has Premier League and international experience to draw on.