Paddy Davitt: Less is more for City ahead of final push
Norwich City opted to stick rather than twist as they gear up for the defining part of the Championship season. Paddy Davitt takes a look at the bigger picture
If you want to measure the progress of Norwich City under Daniel Farke and Stuart Webber then measure it not just in Championship promotion pushes. Gauge it in the total absence of any frenzied reaction to a transfer window that brought just one senior addition on deadline day.
Philip Heise cut his ties a few months earlier than planned at Dynamo Dresden to provide vital cover, and perhaps competition, for Jamal Lewis down the left flank.
In windows past, such a relative lack of activity would have sparked a furious response from those who populate social media.
The equation goes like this; week after week of speculation and rumour linking this player or that taps into a desperate craving from supporters for shiny new footballers to either bolster a promotion push, improve on mid-table mediocrity or stave off relegation.
On and on, day after day until the circus that is transfer deadline day - with its own countdown version of the footballing backstop - heightens the drama played out on Skysports to almost unbearable proportions. Then the clock ticks past 11pm and the dawning realisation hits your club have settled for a more modest outlay, or none at all in the worst case scenario.
Then all that optimism and excitement dissolves into frustration and disappointment directed towards those in charge, who all along never had any remote intention of living up to the artificial, inflated transfer strategy perhaps those less responsible elements of the media and wider fanspace had you believe in the first place.
That is a scenario which has played out at Norwich City in transfer windows past. Particularly when the frustration is already just below the surface if events on the pitch are failing to live up to expectations.
Not this season. Norwich have delivered to this advanced stage.
Those Farke has entrusted have delivered in a vibrant explosion of attacking football and thrilling comebacks. City now harbour genuine ambitions to reach the Premier League as they make the turn for home. In that context, a tweak or two in the market was entirely acceptable business.
More importantly there were no painful departures.
The flip side to making headlines is unwanted attention. Teemu Pukki, Emi Buendia, Max Aarons. You can be sure these are names already featuring on scouting reports for future transfer windows.
City were consistent throughout January they had no need to sell and no desire to. There was no repeat of what happened 12 months ago when Alex Pritchard departed after making his intentions abundantly clear.
In Pritchard’s defence he had a Premier League opportunity when none existed anytime soon at Carrow Road. That is not the case this time around.
Do not dismiss the loan exits for Nelson Oliveira and Matt Jarvis either - one in the deep freeze and one whose career at Norwich is coming to a natural end.
Ben Marshall’s temporary move to Millwall on face value is harder to process - particularly with the added pressure on the homegrown quota from fresh injuries - but when Farke talks of a player who did not want to be part of the ride over the coming months then it is best for both parties.
While the series of youth deals proved entirely consistent with a philosophy that values development at heart.
Norwich’s circumspect January transfer window was all about pulling a tight group even tighter for the defining battles ahead.