How Norwich City can be this season’s ‘surprise package’

Manchester City v Norwich City - Premier League

As usual the transfer window has been dominated by the big clubs. The back pages are filled with rumours of ins and outs at the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

It may surprise you to learn that at the time of writing, the third highest spending EPL club is Norwich City. Manager Chris Hughton has been quietly building an exciting young squad, which could ruffle a few feathers this season.

The biggest transfer for Norwich has been the intriguing capture of Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Joining for a club record fee of around £8.5 million, van Wolfswinkel is a proven goalscorer.

At his previous club Sporting Lisbon, his league record was better than one goal in every two games. At 24, his best years are still ahead of him. If the Netherlands international can hit the ground running, he has the potential to fire the Canaries up the table.

Last season Norwich were the joint third lowest scorers in the league (only Stoke and QPR scored less). Along with Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Chris Hughton has beefed up his attack considerably with the signing of Gary Hooper. Hooper scored goals for fun at Celtic, and did it in the Champions League as well as the SPL. Again at 25, Hooper is at a great age with time for improvement.

In midfield, Leroy Fer has joined the club from FC Twente. Fer actually agreed to join Everton in January, but the move broke down amid concerns over the player’s fitness. Norwich are confident that this is no longer an issue. Fer is a physical presence in the centre of the pitch, with an eye for goal. His comparisons to Yaya Toure should excite the Canaries’ faithful.

Young winger Nathan Redmond finalised his move from Birmingham too, reuniting him with former boss Chris Hughton. His pace and trickery will be a real threat to opposition defences.

This season, stopping goals will be just as important as scoring them. Last year, Norwich’s downturn in form coincided with injury to goalkeeper John Ruddy. Now fully fit, Ruddy is a solid keeper who has the ability to earn valuable points. The centre back pairing of Michael Turner and Sebastian Bassong have EPL experience and are both strong and quick. The acquisition of left-back Martin Olsson from Blackburn has further given the defence a tougher look.

Last season we saw Swansea and West Brom punch above their weight and earn plenty of plaudits from fans and pundits alike. If van Wolfswinkel and Hooper can both get into double figures, Norwich should score enough goals to win games. The supply from wingers Nathan Redmond and Robert Snodgrass should ensure this is the case. It’s been a steady but impressive rebuilding job by Chris Hughton, and the squad looks more youthful and exciting. Keep an eye out for Norwich City this season.


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