Timm Klose is better than Lionel Messi – Norwich City buy is more than just a defender
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Sports reporter GAVIN CANEY casts an eye over the latest Norwich signing, including his rare claim to fame.
No, Timm Klose hasn't won the Ballon d'Or five times, or even once for the matter.
He hasn't scored hundreds of goals for one of the world's most iconic clubs either. But Norwich City's new recruit can claim to be better at something than Lionel Messi – and that's dribbling.
Surprisingly, the Swiss international centre-back is the only person to have beaten the attacking great seen by many, well apart from Ronaldo, as the planet's best player at a recognised test of skill. Speed4 'Super Dribbler' is a 16-metre task, involving five cones, which assesses reaction, agility, technique and pace.
Messi's record of 5.125 seconds, set in 2010, was unofficially broken by Klose during a 2013 training run. He completed the course in 4.976secs.
While his claim to fame – or the relevance of it – may be up for debate, the 27-year-old's success of sorts proves something that can not be doubted. He is as assured on the ball as they come. And that's exactly what the Canaries have been crying out for at the heart of their back four. Too many times this season, including Saturday's defeat at Bournemouth, City's defenders have been caught looking uncomfortable in possession. That accusation is unlikely to be labelled at the 6ft 4in operator.
If he can become the man who can bring the ball out from the back, Alex Neil may have finally solved a giant problem. Balls will now be lost further up the pitch, danger will not be created in their own third, and key men like Wes Hoolahan will be picked out more readily.
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If that ball-playing improvement can be matched with shoring up at the back, Norwich's survival bid will step up a pace. Three Premier League clean sheets is not enough for a team that has largely struggled to score a plethora of goals.
While Klose arrives having fallen out of favour at Wolfsburg, City fans need not worry. He possesses a fighting spirit that will be crucial in the run-in as the pressure of a relegation dogfight continues to increase.
Many saw the classy operator as a squad player before he joined the German club. A horror debut, which saw him get sent off, did little to appease any worries. But Klose bounced back and became a regular in his former side's Bundesliga campaign last term with a stylish, but solid, series of no-nonsense performances.
Although Klose may have dropped off the radar somewhat this term, he has regularly proved his doubters wrong and is desperate to feature in the Swiss squad for Euro 2016. What better stage to showcase himself on than the Premier League?
A great five months could see him become a City regular, help keep the club up, and then head to France in the sort of form he showed little more than six months ago. And if the Champions League campaigner reaches those sort of levels, you just know a tongue-in-cheek and happy chorus of 'he's better than Messi' will be reverberating around Carrow Road soon.