Can Norwich City Compete?
Thank god the transfer window has closed.
It seems a nonsense to me that transfers can still happen right up until the end of August, while the season is already underway. It would seem so much more sensible if it was all done and dusted before the first game of the season.
The transfer "window" was originally brought in to stop the sale of players from clubs mid-season and therefore preventing the wealthier clubs from taking in-form players from clubs that were doing well. Basically, imagine if Spurs or Arsenal had been able to poach Vardy and Mahrez from Leicester mid-season a couple of seasons ago? I dare say that would`ve meant the Foxes would not have won the Premier League.
From that point of view, it`s a good thing but the way that football and transfers have evolved is insane and so far removed from the "real world" that it`s a job for the average fan to relate to their heroes anymore.
As a boy, I remember the mind boggling £1m transfer of Trevor Francis from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest in 1979 - "The first £1m player."
Fast forward to 2017 and we have Neymar, "the first £196m player." The wages these guys get now is almost irrelevant because it`s more than it`s possible to spend. The fact that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain just moved to Liverpool from Arsenal for a meagre £35m and took a reported salary of £120k pw rather than the £180k pw that Arsenal had offered him to stay, shows that sometimes it`s not just about the money.
The Ox is of course an incredibly wealthy young man and he deserves no pity whatsoever over that situation, frankly it`s obscene. He just has more than enough money already, so another £60k pw is irrelevant to him.
When nurses, firemen and police officers earn around a third of the Ox`s weekly salary in a year, it`s embarrassing to society to see what football has turned into. Although getting back to Neymar, it`s worth noting that he hasn`t been bought by a football club as such, more a country as PSG are directly owned by the state of Qatar. There`s more than a hint of projecting the power of the oil and gas rich state in the world order there, than just winning football matches.
What the purchase of Neymar has done though is send the "value" of even the most bang average player through the roof and far up into the stratosphere.
Where that leaves clubs outside the Premier League in England, is in a very difficult situation if they want to compete for the riches of the top flight.
Middlesbrough decided that they needed a new striker and paid £15m for Britt Assombalonga, the precedent being sent by Villa`s purchases of Kodjia and McCormack last summer but pushed even higher by the knock on of Neymar.
What about Norwich City though, can they compete in the transfer market now?
There is a very real worry from the fan base that we can`t, although Steve Stone optimistically assured Vital Norwich`s LeeBoz that City can compete, when he asked this very question at July`s fan forum at Carrow Road.
I dare say that much will depend on a return to the Premier League at the earliest opportunity. After the recent drubbings suffered at the hands of Villa and Millwall though, the club delved into the transfer market once more in a previously unplanned move for an experienced Championship defender in the form of Grant Hanley.
Steve Stone made himself available for the Canaries Trust August Board meeting on Thursday evening and explained that "the position changed after the Millwall game."
Mr Stone reported that there were some frank discussions after that wretched defeat and it was agreed an experienced defender was needed. The facts of the matter were that there was very little money left for such a deal but it really seems as though the boat has been pushed out to try to give Daniel Farke as much help as possible.
Make no mistake, Norwich City are not in the market for the Assombolongas of this world anymore. Many fans tweets I read on Twitter are unhappy at the perceived lack of funding but I liken it to buying a Range Rover, lots of people could afford to buy one of a certain vintage but it`s the running of the damn thing that would ruin you. Tyres, fuel and insurance. That`s why the average man doesn`t drive a 5 litre Vogue and settles for a Mondeo, maybe a Ghia, if he pushes his own boat out.
The wages afforded to players have also rocketed with the market, meaning even the most average Championship footballer is on more in a month than the average joe earns in a year. See what I mean, it`s the running costs that kill you.
With parachute payments running out at the end of this season, Norwich seem to have spent all they can to try to get a squad capable of a promotion push. If it doesn`t happen this season then players on high wages will have to be sold. That is the economic reality of the situation and the likes of Nelson Oliveira, who I expect to have a very good season, will be sold.
It was always going to take time to get so many new players and a new coach and system to gel. Whether it can all gel quickly enough is the big question now because in terms of big money signings, Norwich are not in the market.