The Striker Shake Up
New Norwich City striker, Kyle Lafferty has set his sights high this season and says the aim is to win the league.
Talking to Norwich City TV, Lafferty said:
"We are here to win the league. I always thought about coming back to the UK, whether it was this year or next, but after speaking to the gaffer and how he sold the club and what he wants to do this season to get a chance to maybe bring a team like Norwich City back into the Premier League is not an option you get too often so I jumped at the chance."
The ex-Palermo Man is also under no illusion as to the fact that he will have a fight on his hands to get a starting place in Neil Adams Norwich City team. It's been well documented that Norwich now have a glut of strikers and while one or two may leave, Lafferty acknowledges that there will still be plenty of competition.
"I knew coming here all about the strikers they had and they have brought in myself and Lewis (Grabban) since so, for me, I take the view its better to have that sort of quality at the club," he said.
"You are going to have to work very hard in training to impress the manager and then take your chance if you get it on the pitch. Grabs scored 22 in 44 games and that is a fantastic return.
"I played against Gary (Hooper) at Celtic and I know what he can do. He scored a lot of goals up there and in the Champions League and you also have the young lads who are hungry for a chance and it is exciting."
Meanwhile, back in Norfolk, two more strikers are training at home. 'Unlucky Lucciano' Becchio and the white elephant that is Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
So just where do all these players fit into Adams' squad and how will he use them?
Neil has made just two signings so far, in Grabban and Lafferty, both of whom are proven in the second tier of English football. From the way that training and friendly matches have gone so far, it looks likely that City will play with two strikers, whether that be in a diamond or a more traditional 4-4-2.
Formations that use those sorts of tactics are quite difficult to play in the Premier League and beyond these days as so many clubs choose to use just one striker with five in midfield in various different ways. Chris Hughton tried to play like that but didn't have the players to make it work and it seems a little overkill in the Championship.
Adams knows that goals will decide his fate as boss and if he isn't to have a short tenure then he will need the fan base onside from the first whistle. If his team attack and score lots of goals there will be no problem.
Grabban and Lafferty are Adams' signings, so it is safe to say that they will get a good crack of the whip early on. I think Hooper will also have plenty of opportunities to impress. Conventional wisdom suggests that if you are playing with two strikers regularly then you need four hit men in your squad.
City have that plus two more. I have a feeling that those four will generally be Grabban, Lafferty, Hooper and RvW. Jamar Loza is a good prospect but don't be surprised to see him go out on loan, at least for the first part of the season. Adams won't put the pressure and expectation of promotion exclusively on such a young head.
So that leaves Becchio as the odd man out and I expect him to leave. There will be plenty of suitors from our league and Middlesborough and Leeds are confirmed admirers. The fact that he has been left in England suggests that his time is up. To be fair, and I know we haven't seen him a lot, I've never seen much in him in the Premier League. Perhaps against lower opposition he may be the daddy but I wouldn't pick him over the four strikers I have mentioned or Loza, for that matter.
Perhaps the most intriguing striker story is that around Ricky van Wolfswinkel. The club record fee man came to Norwich with a good reputation across Europe and has two full international caps and as Harry Redknapp pointed out on Monday, 'You don't play for Holland unless you're a good player.'
Louis van Gaal, Manchester United's celebrated new boss who has won League titles at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich picked him for the Dutch national side and gave him those two caps - it is far too easy to write Ricky off as being a waste of money.
So, will Ricky come good? I just think he might and he could be the surprise package of all of them. From what I've seen so far, Josh Murphy looks ready to seize his chance and if Nathan Redmond improves as well, we will have two awesome wide men who, in Josh's words, should 'tear the Championship up.'
They will create chances and crosses and not being up against the likes of Kompany and Terry et al, Ricky may just find his scoring mojo again. I wouldn't bet against it, anyway.
RvW was very unlucky to pick up a knock just before the Italian trip and the fact that only 24 players went, when 25 were scheduled, suggests he is part of Neil's plans. He lost the number nine shirt to Lafferty and was given the number twenty instead.
That's the number that Robin van Persie wore during the World Cup, so I wouldn't read too much into numbers...
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