Hit or Miss: A Look at Norwich’s 2015/16 Transfers
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on March 9, 2016
We’re now into March, 29 games in, where Norwich City find themselves in 18th place with their Premier League status at risk. It’s safe to say the summer transfer window was largely disappointing, the club spent £10million, but failed to strengthen in key areas. Although, in the winter transfer window, I believe the club corrected some of their previous mistakes as they made a number of impressive signings. But was it too late?
As we’ve now had enough time to reflect on Norwich City’s transfers, I take a look at them individually and give my verdict whether they’re a ‘hit or miss’.
From West Brom – £3million
Dorrans moved permanently in the summer for a fee of £3million. He was signed by Alex Neil on loan for a month last season, which was then extended to the rest of the season.
Last season he featured 18 times for the Canaries with it being quickly recognised Neil was likely to try and complete a permanent move for the midfielder.
Although he may be good in the Championship, I don’t believe he’s good enough to be playing Premier League football. With the likes of; Tettey, Howson, O’Neil, Mulumbu and Odjidja-Ofoe all central midfielders at the club, I don’t feel he’s better than any of them.
This season Dorrans has played 23 times and has looked very ordinary, in my opinion. I don’t really see his role in the team – he often looks weak, poor on the ball and always tries to slow down play.
I don’t feel Dorrans has proved himself to be an improvement on what we have. For just £3million more we could have signed N’Golo Kante – a significantly better player, four years younger, who looks comfortable in all areas.
From West Brom – Free Transfer
When I’d heard West Brom would be letting Mulumbu leave on a free in the summer, I instantly wanted him. He seemed to be everything we’d need; experienced in the Premier League and relegation battles, competition for Alex Tettey and good value. But he’s been none of these.
He, unfortunately, picked up an injury on the eve of the season, which put him out of action for nearly two months and he hasn’t looked fully fit since.
Joining with over 150 Premier League appearances with West Brom, he looked the ideal candidate to help Norwich fight the drop – but he’s disappointed and failed to make an impact. With just nine appearances under his belt this season, will he be here next season? Who knows.
From Liverpool – Loan
When I’d heard the news Wisdom had signed on loan, I wasn’t ecstatic. He came with a bad reputation from West Brom fans – where he’d spent last season on loan – and didn’t seem to be a significant improvement.
Wisdom has found life hard at Carrow Road with several injuries stunting his progress and impact on Neil’s squad. Although, when he has played, I’ve been fairly impressed with him.
Although he may not offer what you’d get from any of our right-backs offensively, I believe he’s a much better defender. He can defend for the team without being beaten too easily or being caught way out of position – like the others.
That’s exactly what Norwich needed/need, though. Too many sloppy goals have been conceded so I don’t believe we need a full back bombing up the pitch all game, like Pinto, I’d rather see a back four who prioritise defending – after all, it is their job.
It has been disappointing that Wisdom has missed so much this season due to injuries as I feel he’d have been Neil’s first choice right-back, if not. Because of that, he goes down as a miss.
From Hull City – £7million
For me, Brady has been our best signing this season by some distance. He signed in the summer after a number of failed bids which Hull City manager Steve Bruce labelled as “embarrassing”, despite him initially wanting £15million…
At first, I thought we’d overpaid for a recently relegated player but he’s turned out to be a great signing. Alex Neil has utilised Brady down the left side this season, at left-back and left-wing, where he has impressed more than most. Although I feel he’s more effective further forward, he’s done a good job when played further back and has excited fans when linking up with Matt Jarvis.
Brady has looked one-a-few-bright sparks in an often flat Norwich side so far this season. He’s brought fight, intensity and additional quality to Neil’s squad making him a welcomed addition.
He’d be in my top three players of the season so far.
From Blackburn Rovers – Free Transfer
Jake Kean became Alex Neil’s fourth summer signing; one without much promise or coverage over the summer. He joined on a two-year contract following his release from Blackburn where he’d become the third choice goalkeeper at Carrow Road.
Kean featured five times this season, although none have been for Norwich in the Premier League. He joined Colchester United in January on a short-term loan deal where he conceded 11 times. He has, though, appeared for Norwich’s U21 squad this season.
I’m not disappointed with this transfer, he was signed as a third choice ‘keeper who’d most likely not play for us, and he hasn’t. It was never going to be anything more.
From West Ham – Season-long loan made permanent in January for £2.5million
Matt Jarvis signed a season-long loan deal in the summer as what was Alex Neil’s last transfer of the window. Much to some West Ham fans’ delight, a lot of Norwich fans were excited at the prospect.
Albeit 29-years-old, Jarvis has shown incredible hunger since joining Norwich, often giving the fans a lift when running down the left side with Brady.
When played I feel he has impressed, although he has been suspect to several injuries limiting him to just 13 appearances. It’s a big shame as I feel Norwich have played some of their best football when Jarvis has played – he gives the team a good balance when on the opposite flank to Nathan Redmond.
Although he sometimes with the final ball, he’s been direct and has added a work rate to the team which few have done.
For just £2.5million, I consider this to be a fairly decent signing.
From Dynamo Kyiv – Loan
Mbokani is a transfer Neil chased for the whole of the summer window until he eventually signed him on the eve of the deadline day. I was happy when we’d signed him, albeit, on loan, he’s a striker with Champions League experience who was highly rated by fans of his former clubs.
I feel he’s suffered due to Alex Neil’s lineups, he, like many, have been in and out of the team with no real consistency which no doubt can’t have helped with the addition of trying to adapt to English football.
Although when he has played this season, I’ve been impressed with him. He’s held up the ball well, battled the ball well and looked dangerous in the penalty box. But, his lack of English has proved a barrier on more than one occasion.
Four goals this season doesn’t sound great, but you have to take in the language problem, adapting to the league, a lot of appearances coming from the bench and the side not playing to his strengths – which I feel is the biggest problem. I don’t think we’ve put in half the amount of balls into the box when Mbokani has played, I feel we’ve neglected his strength.
When we have, though, he’s scored as all of his goals have come inside the box.
I’d love to see us sign Mbokani permanently at the end of the season, but, in my opinion, there’s no chance. I can’t see him wanting to be second fiddle to Cameron Jerome either.
From Dinamo Zagreb – £2.2million
Pinto joined in January making him the second acquisition after Jarvis’ loan deal was made permanent. He also became the first player we’d signed who most fans hadn’t ever seen, I included.
Upon arrival, Pinto was touted as an attacking right-back who was poor defensively by journalists over in Croatia. In his first appearance, a 5-4 loss at home to Liverpool, you could see they were exactly right.
To me, he looks more of a right winger – although I still wouldn’t play him there. He’s often caught out of position high up on the right, most notably vs Liverpool where three of their goals came from.
Although I believe he’s better than Steven Whittaker, is he a better right-back than Russell Martin or Andre Wisdom? I’m not sure he is.
From Wolfsburg – £7.5million
Coming from a good Bundesliga side in Wolfsburg and being an international for Switzerland, I was excited when Klose had officially signed. The ball-playing centre-back has looked the best option we have in defence – although, not much competition!
From what I’ve seen from the 6ft 4in Swiss international, I’ve liked. He’s looked assured on the ball and has tried to play out of defence when possible, but he also has a ‘no nonsense’ side to himself. When the ball needs to go, he clears, when the ball needs to be headed out for a corner, he will do so. I think that’s what we’d missed before his introduction.
I see him as a better (and classier) Ryan Bennett. I do, however, like to see the two play together, whether it be as a centre pairing or in a three. The two, in my opinion, possess much better defensive qualities to Seb Bassong and Martin, although lacking in agility and speed.
I feel Klose can be key if we are to stay up this season, but I would like to see a little more leadership from him as we don’t currently have much communication at the back.
From Everton – £8.5million
Naismith is a player I was really keen for us to sign in January after failing to during the summers window. From following his career at Everton I knew what he was like; hardworking, very competitive and a good finisher – he’s the type of player you’d want in a relegation battle.
After four years at Everton, Naismith had appeared over 100 times in a good standard team – that’s why 99% of City fans wanted him, even if he was a little overpriced…
He started his Norwich City career brightly, scoring and assisting against his ex-rivals – Liverpool, although we went onto lose 5-4 to a *very* late Adam Lallana. Despite the loss, positive signs were there from Naismith.
From the off you could see his experience, instructing players and giving advice – which is something we’ve lacked this season in Russell Martin.
That day he played in the No.10 role, although recently he’s played wide left where he’s been fairly unimpressive. For me, Naismith should be playing centrally even if it does mean dropping Wes from the side – sorry!
With just nine games left of the Premier League season, Naismith could be the key to Norwich’s survival, let’s hope so!
From Chelsea – Loan
I had mixed feelings when it was announced Bamford would spend the rest of the season on loan. He’s a player who impressed in the Championship last season – picking up the Championship player of the year award – but had struggled for game time at Crystal Palace when on loan at Selhurst Park earlier in the season.
What I did find disappointing with the signing, however, was we’d signed a young striker on loan for the season, would he care if we were in a relegation battle come the end of the season? Personally, I don’t think so, he’ll be straight back to Chelsea.
In the summer, Bamford joined Palace on loan but only appeared nine times, with most coming from the bench – scoring 0 goals. Although he hadn’t scored, I felt he could do well here if Neil gets the best out of him – the Bamford we saw last season. As Bamford has only played three games, it’s early days. But with only nine left in the league, his impact must be significant, and quick.
I do believe Bamford is a good player, but I don’t feel he was the correct option in January.
Do you agree/disagree with me? Are you happy with Alex Neil’s transfer business this season? Let me know on Twitter at @jbrookes7.