by Thomas Rooney
It has been a strange summer for Norwich fans. After a shambolic season, we were at first, just relieved that it was all over. Then came the usual optimism, with plenty of rumours surrounding who we were going to buy. People trusted Glenn Roeder in the transfer marker and I was personally looking forward to seeing the squad develop.
Then, a certain article regarding billionaire Peter Cullum, meant that this optimism reached boiling point. There was somebody willing to invest £20m in Norwich City’s transfer kitty – happy days! Everyone was feeling positive about the future of the club, both financially and on the pitch. All that needed to be done was for Delia and co to strike a deal with Cullum. That shouldn’t be a problem should it?
Well, to cut a long story short – it was a problem. It was announced that negotiations between the club and Cullum had been terminated. There was to be no investment. This – which coincided with a lack of activity in the transfer market – put the fans back onto a negative way of thinking. ‘We haven’t got any money’, ‘The board have got to go’, ‘Roeder could walk out’ and ‘Who exactly is going to play against Coventry?’ were some of the comments circulating the Canary faithful. It was a frustrating time.
Now though, I genuinely believe that in terms of the players Roeder has brought in – things are looking much better on the playing side of things. Of course, I am not getting carried away because a lot of work is still to be done. However, I am almost certain we won’t be watching some of the dire displays we put in at the beginning of last season under Peter Grant. Roeder wouldn’t allow it.
Following the signings of Wes Hoolahan and Sammy Clingan earlier in the summer, Roeder has re-signed Ryan Bertrand on loan and brought in Fulham pair Dejan Stefanovic and Elliot Omozusi. It is the Stefanovic signing that I am particularly pleased about. We haven’t had a genuine leader at the back since Malky Mackay and Craig Fleming left the club. The former Portsmouth man brings with him a wealth of experience and I will certainly be happy to see him lining up for us against Coventry in August.
Omozusi on the other hand, is someone I don’t know a great deal about. He is a 19-year-old right back and is certainly highly rated by those who have seen him play. Roeder certainly rates him, saying that he is one of the best young full-backs in the Premier League. One thing the signing of Omozusi does mean is that we are fully covered in the full-back positions now. Ryan Bertrand and Adam Drury will fight it out for the left-back slot, while Omozuis will look to secure his place at right back ahead of Jon Otsemobor.
So, overall I am feeling positive. I wouldn’t say that the Championship football odds would favour a promotion push just yet, but I don’t think we will be flirting with relegation quite as much this year – the joy!
What does the rest of the summer hold? Well, according to Roeder, it will involve at least four more signings. I’d say this would be a goalkeeper, one more centre back and two strikers. Then maybe a couple more on top of that – who knows.
David Bell from Luton looks set to be the next signing and he would be one of a number of players competing for a place in our impressive-(ish) looking midfield. He would join Sammy Clingan, Mark Fotheringham, Darrell Russell, Wes Hoolahan, Matty Pattison, Luke Chadwick and Lee Croft as players that will be expecting to for fill a starting berth come August.
There is no doubt that the defence and midfield are taking shape. However, the strike force, as yet, hasn’t been added to. It is still only Jamie Cureton and Chris Martin. This could all change this week though – I hope it will anyway. There are still rumours surrounding Ameobi and Rigters, but I would personally like to see us hi-jack Coventry’s move for Clinton Morrison. I have always rated him as a player and if we could get him on a free – it would be the best signing of the summer in my opinion. Roeder approached Palace about him in January, so I’m sure there is every chance we will make a move.
As always with Norwich – it’s a case of watch this space to see how an eventful summer of ups and downs comes to a close.