The January transfer window is just about to open, and speculation and gossip will, as always, be at fever pitch. 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.
A few days ago I had a little look at what may happen in the goalkeeping department, and today it’s the turn of the defence.
We’re halfway through the season and the Canaries are yet to keep a clean sheet. It’s pretty easy to put the blame for that at the feet of the back four and although the reality is never as simple as that, there’s no doubt in my mind that we at least need a composed central defender to hold things together.
Kyle Naughton (Tottenham Hotspur). Naughton has been on loan at Carrow Road from Spurs since the start of the season and has done an excellent job.
He was given the nod ahead of one of last season’s better performers in Russell Martin who has since ground out a position for himself in central defence, and put in a great performance at left back against Fulham on New Year’s Eve.
Lambert has already confirmed that he wants to sign Naughton permanently, and provided Harry Redknapp and Spurs don’t play silly buggers with the price, it’ll probably happen sooner rather than later.
Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham City). Ridgewell had a transfer request turned down at St Andrews in the summer and would add some much needed Premier League experience and solidity to the back four.
Brum have struggled for most of the season but their form has improved of late, and despite being 12th in the Championship the Blues are only six points off the play-off places with two games in hand. Most importantly though, they’re skint.
Chris Gunter (Nottingham Forest). City have already had three bids turned down for Gunter so there must be some interest there, although most Premier League clubs have been linked so it’s hard to tell how much is just an agent pimping his client to all and sundry.
Gunter is undoubtedly an excellent player but do we need another right back? If we manage to sign Naughton permanently then probably not. One or the other would be the sensible suggestion.
James Tomkins (West Ham United). Tomkins is one of the most highly rated defenders outside the Premier League. The Hammers have already issued a hands-off warning but may be powerless to stop him leaving if a top-flight club came in with a decent offer.
Could he be within City’s range? Hard to say as we don’t really know what that range is, but Tomkins would probably be a step too far, which is a real shame as he is a quality player.
The “returning from injury so like signing a new player cliches”: Daniel Ayala and Elliott Ward.
The only defender you could realistically see leaving Carrow Road this month is George Francomb, and even then only on a short-term loan. He had a spell with Barnet last season and it wouldn’t be a shock for a similar move to be made soon.
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 soon for Part 3: Midfielders.