Seven is the magic number for Norwich City boss
Paul Lambert wants to make it another magnificent seven signings this summer, as he prepares his Norwich City squad for the rigours of the Premier League.
The arrival 12 months ago of Andrew Crofts, Andrew Surman, John Ruddy, Simeon Jackson, David Fox and Elliott Ward did the trick for Lambert's League One champions as they went straight through the Championship to book top flight football earlier this month.
And while signing number seven, Steven Smith, did not quite work out the way it was hoped, Lambert's summer recruitment drive still proved well worth the effort come the final weeks of the 2010-11 season.
This summer Lambert is tasked with gearing his Canaries to compete against some of Europe's best teams – and he wants to repeat the trick.
'I think we are going to need about seven, which is a big turnover,' Lambert told BBC Scotland. 'But we did it last year, going in with seven or so new lads and they adapted to it.
You may also want to watch:
'There are ones I have identified already to the club and it is up to us to try and persuade them to come.'
One name who will not feature on Lambert's hit-list is 32-year-old Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who had seemed set to leave Bayern Munich as a free agent this summer.
- 1 'Unauthorised' headstones ruin family's final wishes
- 2 Anti-vax protesters descend on Norwich pub demanding entry
- 3 Neighbours sick of road turning into 'scene from Fast & Furious'
- 4 Water starts gushing out of sinkhole on Norwich city centre road
- 5 Norfolk seaside holiday park battles Shell over solar panel plans
- 6 New Lidl supermarket opens in Norwich
- 7 Hardware store owners retiring after more than 60 years
- 8 Car catches fire after early morning crash
- 9 Man was found dead after lockdown hit business, inquest told
- 10 Norfolk lorry driver who died in B1085 crash named
Lambert ruled out any move for the German, as well as dipping into clubs north of the border – the Canaries manager instead expressing his desire to bring in players who know the English leagues like the back of their hand.
Commenting on the Klose speculation, he said: 'The lad's 30-odd now, he's played in front of 80,000 people.
'He isn't going to come to Norwich and put his shoulder to the wheel, that's me being totally honest.'
Whatever happens over the summer, Norwich City fans will have no problem trusting Lambert to make the right decisions.
Supporters have latched on to the banner 'In Lambert we trust' since the City boss transformed their club from third tier fodder to Premier League members, while Wednesday's news of new deals for Lambert, assistant Ian Culverhouse and football operations manager Gary Karsa was greeted with universal joy by supporters.
That trust, Lambert believes, has been vital to date – and he wants it to be known the club will need it more than ever next season.
'I think the fans trust us in what we want to try and do, and next year if ever there was a season that Norwich will need their fans, it will be next season,' said Lambert. 'It's been an incredible feat by the players and the fans alike.
'We just had to get the fans to believe in the group of players and vice versa. As soon as you had that, you had a bit of momentum and it kept on going.'
Lambert's popularity at City is as high as it could possibly be right now – no surprise given what has been achieved in the last two seasons.
'I'm not naive enough to know what people think; what's happened to us has been great, and I appreciate their support – but it's not just me, there's a team and my staff are vital to me,' said Lambert.
'These fans are absolutely vital to this football club and we'll try our best to try and give them what they want.
'I think if you had asked any of them in two years would they take the Premier League, they'd have probably thought you were going mad, but that's the magnitude of what we have done.
'It's not changed from League One or the Championship. We'll try and do everything we can next season to get a foothold in it and enjoy it, but the only way you're going to enjoy it is when you're winning.'
Aside from announcements of Lambert's summer transfer dealings, the next big date in the diaries of Norwich fans is June 17, when the 2011-12 Premier League fixtures are released.
'When you look at the teams that are in that league and the managers, the players you're going to come up against and the stadia you've got to go to, it's absolutely phenomenal,' Lambert told the club's official website.
'Norwich City versus Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Bolton. It doesn't matter what team you want to look at in that league, it's huge.
'Two years ago, no disrespect, we were playing Stockport and they are now out of the Football League. So this shows you the rise that has happened at this football club.'
Given City's rise following that infamous 7-1 home defeat by Lambert's Colchester side on August 8, 2009 – just 10 days before the Scot took charge at Carrow Road – it is no wonder most look back to that opening fixture as a turning point for the Canaries.
But Lambert is not so convinced.
'I think people can overlook that and thinking that was the catalyst of Norwich getting galvanised; it wasn't,' said the Norwich manager.
'Colchester came here to win a game, it could have happened to someone else. I was fortunate enough to be asked to become manager of this football club, which I took without any hesitation because of the fan base.'