Youssouf Mulumbu will add steel to Norwich City’s top-flight challenge
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Following the signing of Youssouf Mulumbu, Norwich City writer David Freezer assesses the qualities the midfielder will add to the Canaries squad.
The frank exchange of views between Alex Tettey and Youssouf Mulumbu pictured on this page may provide a telling glimpse into Norwich City's return to the Premier League battlefield.
Mulumbu has become City's second permanent signing of the summer and is highly likely to find himself playing alongside Tettey in midfield at times this season.
The photo illustrates the confrontational nature of the two players – tough, determined and uncompromising, all qualities which the Canaries will need plenty of next season.
Perhaps not at Carrow Road, the comforts of home will hopefully allow Alex Neil to display his side's attacking qualities, but away from home especially.
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Take a quick look back at City's results away from home in their last top-flight campaign. Losing 7-0 at Manchester City, 5-1 at Liverpool, 4-0 at Manchester United, 4-1 at Arsenal, 4-1 at Aston Villa. Doesn't make for good reading, does it?
This time around Norwich must prove they have a tough streak – and Tettey in tandem with Mulumbu in defensive midfield could well be integral to doing just that.
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Over 200 appearances for West Brom, mostly in the top flight, mean the 28-year-old free signing has just the sort of experience Neil was hoping to add this summer.
Mulumbu must prove he can keep his temper under control as well though.
He was sent off for elbowing QPR midfielder Joey Barton in a 4-1 home defeat for West Brom in April, just 12 minutes after coming on as a substitute.
In March 2013 he was also sent off for angrily drop-kicking a ball at Gary O'Neil – now his team-mate at Carrow Road – after being fouled in a 3-1 loss at West Ham.
Those two blemishes on his record aside, the tenacious midfielder has largely built a reputation of being capable of taking charge of games and winning his individual battles.
Online reaction from West Brom fans to the news of Mulumbu signing his two-year deal suggested many felt the Canaries had secured a quality signing.
The arrival of Darren Fletcher from Manchester United after the appointment of Tony Pulis as manager at The Hawthorns prompted the decline in Mulumbu's influence for the Baggies.
Yet the Democratic Republic of Congo international – alongside Dorrans – had played a key part in helping establish his side in the top flight, ensuring survival for five consecutive seasons, including two top-half finishes.
If he can help Norwich to similar comfort levels at English football's top table, his signing could well go down as one of the best in Canaries history.