In just a few short days the January transfer window will slide open, the only time between now and the summer where clubs can sign players on permanent deals (apart from free agents of course).
Speculation and gossip will, as always, be at fever pitch but in reality not a great deal will happen as clubs charge top dollar for all talent to try and deter rivals and ensure their own campaigns aren’t derailed by losing a key member of their squad.
In fact the busiest people in January tend to be Sky Sports News reporters stationed in car parks up and down the country “breaking” news like Harry Redknapp arriving at the training ground, but I’d still expect Paul Lambert to bring in a couple of players next month.
The main priority, as I’m sure we’ll hear said many times in the next five weeks or so, will be looking to give the current squad “a hand”, whilst doing everything possible not to jeopardise the team spirit and togetherness that has taken the Canaries in mid-table in the Premier League at the halfway stage.
Wages will also be a massive factor. Anyone who does come in will need to sit within the current wage structure – there’ll be no journeymen rocking up looking for one last pay day, that’s for sure. Or any £90k per week flops like Wayne Bridge sent out to get them off the wage bill.
So with all that in mind, who should Lambert go for? Fear not friends for I have a shortlist, and we’ll go through it over a series of posts in the next few days. Are you sitting comfortably? First up, goalkeepers.
I know there are people still not convinced by John Ruddy but I very much doubt a keeper will be near the top of Paul Lambert’s wish-list. Let’s play devil’s advocate though, and look at a couple who could be either excellent backups or push Ruddy all the way.
Lee Camp (Nottingham Forest). Forest are having a stinking season. At time of writing they are in the bottom three in the Championship, and haven’t won – or even scored – since beating Ipswich in the middle of November.
Camp has been one of the best players at the City Ground since he arrived in 2009, and if the worst happens you can’t see him wanting to stick around for League One football next season. Would Forest want to sell him though?
They supposedly turned down three bids for him from Swansea in the summer and probably wouldn’t cost a huge amount, but them letting him go would not exactly send a good message to a bunch of supporters already at the end of their tether. Having said that, he’s worth more now than he would be in the summer – and he knows the club after having a spell at Carrow Road on loan a few years ago.
Joe Lewis (Peterborough United). Remember him? Posh signed him from us for £400k plus a hefty sell-on clause three January’s ago, and at the time I thought (and still do) that it was a good deal for us.
Rumours of big-money moves to the likes of Manchester United and Everton failed to materialise and Big Joe is now only six months away from being a free agent at London Road, which means he’d be reasonably cheap.
Lewis is still only 24, and at 6ft 6in definitely has the sort of presence a top level goalkeeper needs. He’d be an excellent number two who really could push Ruddy all the way – but would he want to come back?
Others. Boaz Myhill (Birmingham on loan from West Brom) is a very good keeper, as is Scott Carson, currently enjoying his time in Turkey with Bursaspor.
I’d be absolutely amazed if John Ruddy went anywhere. He may not be the best in the Premier League but still deserves his starting place as far as I’m concerned and he’ll be staying put unless something drastic happens.
Jed Steer had a spell on loan at Yeovil earlier in the season until a thigh injury cut it short. It wouldn’t be a shock if he went out again in a bid to pick up some experience of playing first team football.
The same goes for Declan Rudd, who has spent the majority of the season so far warming the bench. Rudd needs to play some games which means spending time out on loan, but you would think that is only likely to happen if a more experienced backup arrives at the club.
So, what do you reckon? Do you think Lambert need to improve his goalkeeping department? Leave a comment below or get in touch via Twitter. Check back tomorrow for Part 2: Defenders.