Timm Klose emerging as the pick of Norwich City’s new year transfer window business
- Credit: Steve Adams
Few would have expected Timm Klose to be more influential than Steven Naismith when Norwich City's new boys were formally introduced together in the final throes of the January transfer window.
Granted, Klose had the top class pedigree. A full Swiss international who won the German Cup with Wolfsburg and helped his former employers into this season's Champions League knock-out stages. But given the prolonged courtship to entice Naismith from Merseyside and his proven Premier League grounding, the Scottish international's arrival was met with fevered anticipation.
Here at last was a genuine top flight operator with the guile to make the difference at the sharp end of the pitch. Naismith's stunning debut in a bizarre nine-goal episode against Liverpool at Carrow Road was a ringing endorsement for Norwich's persistence.
Naismith thumped home an angled shot and then coaxed a rash challenge out of Alberto Moreno to earn his new club a penalty converted by Wes Hoolahan. Clearly it was unrealistic to expect such brilliance on a routine basis but Naismith has struggled to find his feet since, not helped it must be said by injury concerns which have curtailed his recent involvement.
The midfielder is a class act who in time will justify Alex Neil's faith, yet it is Klose who is emerging as the pick of Norwich's new year transfer window business.
The 27-year-old has established himself not only in central defence but as a leader of men on the latest evidence in the spirited goalless Premier League draw against Manchester City.
Klose possesses the physical presence to become a dominant force in the Canaries' backline but it is arguably his personality and confidence that mark him out as a key figure over this run-in.
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That much was evident before he had set foot on a pitch, when he sat alongside Naismith at Colney to face the media following his move from the Bundesliga. Klose's command of English was far less impressive than the open, engaging manner he talked about realising a dream of playing in the Premier League. It was an unscripted, humorous display which had the assembled press corps in stitches at times with his reaction to a story he had achieved better dribbling statistics than the great Lionel Messi.
You came away thinking whatever he might be able to produce on the field, here was a man unfazed by the relegation scrap he had inherited.
Neil needs players who can withstand the pressure and the tension that accompanies every game now between West Brom on Saturday and the final weekend's trip to Everton.
Klose exudes a calmness that is reassuring in the heat of battle, such as when Manchester City pummelled away without success in the final quarter. It was fresh evidence suggesting that uncomfortable acclimatisation period for any overseas player had been navigated with the minimum of discomfort.
The central defender has already faced the likes of Sergio Aguero and the temperamental Diego Costa, who for all his tantrums is still regarded as one of the best in the world. It has been a sharp learning curve but the new boy must realise what the Premier League has to offer.
Klose looks the real deal; the only notable blemish perhaps Victor Moses' burst of speed that ended with Dimitri Payet's goal in the midst of a fraught West Ham comeback at Carrow Road last month.
Norwich need that consistent level of individual and collective performance to stand any chance of pulling off the great escape. If they do then expect Klose to have played a major part.