Three players Norwich City should sign this summer
Norwich City will be sensible this summer.
Sporting director Stuart Webber, who help mastermind the club’s 2018-19 Championship title win, said that summer deals would be conducted with the club’s long-term interests in mind.
Even though the Canaries have had massive influx of cash and are now in a league that will allow them to attract a higher calibre of player, they are determined not to make the same mistakes we saw Fulham make last summer – when they threw a combined £100 million at 15 new senior players.
The pride of Norfolk’s transfer budget has been quoted as being approximately £20 million; a lot of money, of course, to most of us but not so much in a Premier League transfer window. The odds reflect this. Norwich are the second-favourites for relegation next season at 10/11 on Betway as of 13 June.
It could be difficult to find three players who fit their profile – young, talented and possessing the right attitude – who will improve their current XI and who can be attained without going outside the budget, but we’ve given it our best shot.
If Max Aarons leaves this summer as expected, then Norwich will need a right-back – it’s an area they are light in even if the 18-year-old stays.
Millwall’s Mahlon Romeo has the athleticism to replace Aarons, but at 23, he is perhaps not quite as accomplished technically and tactically as he would need to be to have a chance of playing in the Premier League to a reasonable standard.
Connor Roberts, also 23, could be a good option.
The Swansea academy graduate is not quite as quick or powerful as Aarons or Romeo, but he would bring different qualities.
Firstly, there was no right-back in the Championship who scored as many goals as Roberts (four) in 2018-19, which highlights his subtlety of movement.
Norwich’s main strength is clever interplay in the space between the edge of the centre-circle and the edge of the 18-yard box; the pattern tends to be one long forward pass, followed by a short sideways one to ensure a variation on the direction of play.
Roberts would not do what Aarons has done in terms of driving down the right flank at any opportunity, but he would offer something different.
Firstly, he would at times join in with combination play; he has the technical proficiency to play accurate forward passes of short to medium length.
When not joining in, he would monitor the passing sequences and gauge opportunities to make late runs to the back-post, something he has done very well for Swansea.
Ben Godfrey fared superbly in the second half of last season at centre-back for Norwich.
Performances like the one he produced in March’s 1-0 win at Middlesbrough, where the Yellows came under the cosh, show he is an incredibly valuable member of the squad.
However, Godfrey was a League One midfielder just 14 months ago – so to ask him to jump up a second division since then as well as changing position in that time would be very demanding.
Sean Raggett and Marcel Franke are unlikely to feature in Farke’s plans for top flight action; Grant Hanley has only played two minutes of league action since Christmas while Timm Klose tends to come on in the 89th minute when Norwich are either chasing a goal or protecting a lead.
Norwich could therefore do with another centre-back to partner the influential Christoph Zimmermann, who is the cool head in this Canaries side.
Jordan Storey has had an outstanding season with Preston; he has improved the quality of their distribution from deep since coming into the side mid-season, when more experienced defenders such as Paul Huntington were phased out.
Storey has the slight advantage of having played at centre-back for more than one season; the 21-year-old will only improve and if he were to have a good season in the Premier League, his value will rocket.
Benrahma has had an excellent year at Brentford.
In 38 appearances, the Algerian chalked up 10 goals and 14 assists, making himself one of just three Championship players to grab double-figures in both metrics.
Benrahma is two-footed, which allows him to either use his pace and skill to attack on the outside, or cut inside and show his technical quality.
From a technical perspective, the 23-year-old can do it all: crossing, dribbling, passing, through balls, set pieces, shooting from range…
19 of Benrahma’s 29 league starts for the Bees have come on the left of the attack, which means he would be directly in competition with Onel Hernandez – both have an opportunity to become the best left-sider at Carrow Road since Darren Eadie.
The Cuban-born wide man has had a perfectly good season for Norwich; his pace, dribbling ability and close control whilst making winding runs has been very valuable.
However, Hernandez has scored eight goals and grabbed nine assists in 40 appearances (34 starts); although still impressive, his numbers are not quite as strong as that of Benrahma, who is three years younger and has perhaps a higher career ceiling.
Whoever Norwich sign this summer, they will not abort the principles on which their success has been built.