Norwich City A-Z: W is for the Wolf, and other mysteries
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Our alternative Norwich City A-Z has brought us to W for the Wolf... and other transfer mysteries. CHRIS LAKEY looks at some of the players who just haven’t cut the mustard at Carrow Road
Poor old Ricky van Wolfswinkel, you feel sorry for him.
Every time we look at Norwich City ‘flops’, his name comes up. But let’s make it clear from the outset: this is no hatchet job.
We have every sympathy with players who, for one reason or another, and no matter how hard they try, just cannot live up to expectations.
RvW is one of the most obvious, because of the price tag (around £8.5m) and the extraordinary hype that surrounded his move to Norfolk from Sporting Lisbon. For some reason, his style didn’t suit Chris Hughton’s tactics, he lost his scoring boots, confidence therefore waned and he never got it back. Time to cut your losses, which in this case was a lot. But because he tried and because he was decent, honest bloke, City fans, generally, have fond memories of the Dutchman.
Other signings have some mystery about them. Tony Andreu... what was that about? Andreu came down from Hamilton with Alex Neil when he took over as manager in 2015, but then found his old/new boss didn’t fancy him. Andreu played half a dozen games and after a couple of loan spells ended up at Coventry. Another trier who was out of his depth - which should have been as obvious to Neil as it was to the rest of us.
Luciano Becchio is perhaps the biggest mystery signing of recent years: the Argentine was a hit with Leeds who offered him in a deal for Steve Morrison. It did from the outside looking in it seemed Hughton was so eager to get rid of Morrison he took Becchio without asking too many questions. The assumption was he’d keep scoring. But he never did, ever, and after 13 appearances he left. What happened to cause such a dramatic change of fortune remains a mystery.
Some simply fall out of favour: goalkeeper Michael McGovern and full-back James Husband of the current stock are prime examples.
McGovern was another who came down from Hamilton, two summers ago – didn’t Neil learn his lesson with Andreu? The gap between Hamilton and Norwich is a big one.
There is of course a difference between someone who is a mystery signing and someone who is genuinely a disappointment. Steven Naismith was no mystery signing: their were legitimate reasons behind bringing him from Everton, but it just hasn’t worked out.
Like countryman Steven Smith – a decent player who just couldn’t settle.
“It was probably my fault because I didn’t settle and didn’t feel comfortable in Norwich,” he said. “I didn’t give it enough time but I don’t regret it because I’m back where I want to be playing.”
Sergi Canos turned down the offer of a new deal at Liverpool to sign for Alex Neil – and started one league game.
Ignasi Miquel came with a decent reputation from Arsenal, but never featured in a league game.
The list goes on...