This summer, a number of high-quality players have joined what could be considered some of the Premier League’s smaller teams, such as Emmanuel Giaccherini, who joined Sunderland, and Wilfried Bony, who joined Swansea City. However, a high proportion of these players have joined Norwich City, and even after the beginning of their season, the Canaries are continuing to bring new players in, their latest being a season-long loan deal for Swedish striker Johan Elmander.
There’s no argument that says Chris Hughton’s men haven’t conducted good transfer business this summer, bringing in some very high quality players. Whilst names such as Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper have proved themselves already in their careers, the Yellows have also brought in some very good young players as well, like Leroy Fer and Nathan Redmond, who will have a very big effect at Carrow Road in the years to come. There have also been no complaints about the signings of Martin Olsson and Javier Garrido from Blackburn Rovers and Lazio respectively, and all together, these transfers have left a very happy Norwich support quietly confident about the upcoming season.
Now, the Norfolk side have added even more experience to their squad with the addition of Johan Elmander. Even after the purchase of Hooper last month, Norwich continued to be linked with moves for strikers. Juventus’ Fabio Quagliarella was a possibility, although that appeared to be just paper talk after they started their league season against Everton and finished with a 2-2 draw. After a point in their first game, Chris Hughton’s side have seen fit to bring in a new striker, and have brought in the 32-year-old Swede from Turkish side Galatasaray.
The player, who has been capped over 70 times for his country in the last 11 years, certainly has a lot of previous experience in the Premier League, having spent three years with Bolton Wanderers before joining their Turkish giants two years ago. This could help Norwich out a lot during the season, especially if they are miraculously embroiled in a relegation battle, as their newest signing certainly had experience of this with the Trotters.
Norwich City will certainly know this signing comes from a high-quality squad in Istanbul. Even upfront, Cimbom have talents such as former Chelsea man Didier Drogba in addition to Burak Yilmaz, who really caught the eye for the Turkish side last season. Going down the team, they also have players such as former Real Madrid and Internazionale midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who has been a target for many of Europe’s top clubs in recent years. This squad, packed full of talent, reached the latter stages of the Champions League last season, and has led to some of the big players linked with a move away from the Türk Telekom Arena, although they appear to have successfully kept their key men together.
However, with lots of talent particularly up front at Galatasary, this has limited Elmander’s game-time quite seriously, causing him to seek a temporary move back to the Premier League. This seems a reasonable request, and normally Norwich City would be the right choice, although perhaps not this season, thanks to new arrivals at Carrow Road like Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon and Gary Hooper from Celtic.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel has certainly had a coveted signature so far in his playing career, despite being just 24 years of age. The Dutch international has impressed in Holland’s Eredivisie and Portugal’s Liga ZON Sagres, and as such has earned a move to England after an impressive two seasons with Sporting Lisbon. With the talent he holds, the former Twente player will be wanting to play after joining from a poor Sporting side last season.
Gary Hooper is a very shrewd signing for the Canaries. He only cost around £5m, which is a very cheap price for the effect he could have in a yellow shirt. The 25 year-old has been devastating in the Scottish Premier League with Celtic in the last three years, and will now be looking to prove himself in England’s top flight as well. He has played in England before, but only in the lower leagues, and will be keen to face up to the challenge and try and win selection for Roy Hodgson’s England squad.
However, the problem with these two players is that they will limit the playing time that Elmander could get at Carrow Road, as both Hooper and Van Wolfswinkel will be fighting for the first-choice spot, and simply I just think they are better than the Swede. Elmander could kick himself by the end of the season, after leaving Turkey’s Premier Club in search of more football.
This signing could still prove to be a very good one for the Canaries. Not only has the 32-year-old got prior experience in this league, which could aid his new club during their season, but he could also come in and have a defining effect if one of the big names is either injured or unable to deliver. Norwich City fans have a right to be excited about the new season, and their newest acquisition should be relishing the challenge of trying to win them over.
Written by Ben Warner