So Far, So Good...
It`s been a while since I`ve written on the site, so I just thought I`d chip in with a few thoughts on the state of Norwich City at the moment.
As I write we have apparently made a second bid in recent days for Leeds` Robert Snodgrass. As we all know this has been a long running saga with Paul Lambert a confirmed admirer of Snodgrass.
Lambert first enquired about him last summer but was put off by Leeds` £5m valuation. He went back for him again in January (if the press are to be believed) and now Chris Hughton has tasked the board with making a renewed effort to sign him.
Neil Warnock announced a couple of days ago that Norwich had bid but Leeds` valuation and ours were different. It seems yesterday we upped our bid.
I`m in no doubt that Snodgrass would be a great addition to the side. He is predominantly a winger and we are a little light in that department.
Pilkington and Bennett are the real only out and out wingers and both were rotated with most of the squad last season.
The City squad has an abundance of central midfielders and here lays a possibility to make this deal maybe a little easier.
Warnock is said to be an admirer of Andrew Crofts and, again according to the press, is said to have enquired about him. Could he be a make weight, as some have already suggested?
I`d be sorry to see the lad go. He was immense during our Championship promotion season but didn`t get much game time last season, and when he did it was usually at the end of a game when a bit of steel was needed to see a match out.
He will no doubt be frustrated by this bit part but also hope that Hughton will give him a chance - after all it`s a fresh start for every player as Chris Martin`s agent has pointed out.
So far, we have just the two new signings, Jacob Butterfield and Steven Whittaker.
Whittaker`s arrival has been slowed by the efforts of Rangers Newco and their efforts to retain the best players from their squad. As I write he has just been cleared by FIFA to resume his playing career at Norwich City - good news, we didn't want that dragging on too long.
I`ve never seen him play, not having ever had much interest in Scottish Football, but am told by a work colleague (who saw him play in an Old Firm game) that he reads the game very well but isn`t that quick. I`ve no idea if this is true or not and as ever will reserve judgement until I`ve seen him play in the flesh.
Likewise, I don`t know too much about Butterfield other than what I have read. It seems that he is very versatile and can play anywhere in midfield as well as playing off a front man in a "No:10" position.
I`ve also read that he is a genuine two footed player (I know, they`ve all got two feet). By that I mean that he can use either foot equally well. Indeed, the Yorkshire press described him as not really being sure which his best foot is.
This is a rare attribute for a footballer and makes a player much harder to mark. Traditionally, a defender will try to show a player onto his weaker side - let`s hope this is as promising as it sounds.
I think that if the Snodgrass transfer comes off that we will be in very good shape in midfield, with plenty of options. The departure of Whitbread, Naughton, Drury and Wilbraham mean that we still need to strengthen.
A new centre back, as well as cover at left back are needed - and I`d love to see us sign Curtis Davies.
Davies is a decent player who could help Bennett and Ayala progress. It looks like £4m would be needed to sign him, which is still a lot of money for us, but here`s hoping.
I`m not sure who else Chris Hughton is looking at but I think that a new striker is also a good idea. I had thought Leon Best might be worth acquiring and surely we could`ve beaten Blackburn if we`d wanted to.
Transfer gossip has been a little light lately, although I did see us linked with Alex Baptiste of Blackpool - I`d rather go for Davies.
This Saturday sees our first pre-season friendly and will be our first clue as to what sort of formations Hughton will favour.
He was predominantly a 4-4-2 man last season with Birmingham and hasn`t given too much away in recent days. I guess he`ll take a good look at what he has and decide from there.
Paul Lambert would rotate his squad as well as changing the formation to match each team that we played last year. It became part of our success that the opposing manager didn`t know what he was likely to face week in, week out. Will Hughton rotate so often? Or will he stick with a more regular nucleus of players? We`ll find out soon enough.
All in all, things are ticking along nicely. The usual noises about a hard but enjoyable pre-season are coming out of the player`s camp, as you would expect. Recruitment has started and continues.
So far, so good.