Norwich City Style & Recruitment
Norwich City manager Daniel Farke had a difficult start to life in the east of England back in 17/18 finishing 14th in the Championship. But possibly one of the main reasons he was so successful in 18/19, winning the championship with 94 points, was because of this period (as well as patience from the board).
As Farke and the Canaries prepare for life in the Premier League following a three-year absence, I take a look at Norwich’s transfer dealings and touch on their style of play as they join the Premier League in August.
Structural changes at the club have meant an overhaul of the academy and training facilities. This has allowed Norwich to develop better talent as a result, the prime examples being Max Aarons (20) and Jamal Lewis (21), with many others possibly in the pipeline.
Aarons was only promoted to the first team last summer but both himself and Lewis were two of the most consistent full-backs last season and deservedly finished in the PFA Championship Team Of The Season.
Further up the field Norwich were smart and economical in their decision making. The departure of both James Maddison (Leicester) and Josh Murphy (Cardiff) freed up circa £33m and most teams would’ve misspent such a sum, especially after finishing 14th.
Not Norwich though and to add to that, not often has a team won the Championship going into the season with a net spend of +£28m. Norwich looked for value in the transfer market and that’s exactly what they found.
Two of their other key players were signed for a combined fee of £1.35m. Teemu Pukki was, in fact, a free signing from Brøndby whilst Emiliano Buendía cost the £1.35m from Getafe.
After relatively unsuccessful trips around Europe, Norwich had picked up Pukki at 28 years of age after scoring 55 from 130 Danish Superliga games.
The Finnish international is a tireless runner that showed his lethal instinct to finish chances in the box last season, racking up 29 goals in 43 Championship matches. If he can replicate anything close to that form, even 50%, Norwich’s survival hopes will certainly change.
Buendía on the other hand, now 22, also enjoyed himself in the Championship – finding the net 8 times whilst setting up a further 12. A total contribution of 21.5% of the 93 goals Norwich scored. Primarily coming in from the right Buendía is a tidy dribbler that offers pace and vision in the final third.
Perhaps unexpectedly, especially because of his stature and style, one of his biggest strengths is crossing/corners with many of his assists last season coming directly from corner kicks.
Heading into this season, only six other Premier League teams have seen more departures (Including loans and retired) than Norwich. As they prepare for life in the PL it seems Farke certainly knows not all players will be able to make the grade.
Again, in terms of spending, it’s been relatively quiet, on paper at least. Sam Byram (25, West Ham) joined for £747k as well as teenager Daniel Adshead (17, Rochdale) for £204k (Yes not very exciting but we thought that las season!).
Add to that list Ralf Fährmann – the experienced German goalkeeper joins on loan to provide competition for Tim Krul and Swiss striker, Josip Drmić, also joins on a free transfer.
Last season Norwich played a possession-based game with play generally starting from the back. The Norfolk based club were patient in their build-up but also reliant on players blessed with pace and energy, especially out wide, which caused opposition problems when breaking at pace.
Farke’s 4-2-3-1 system gave the team dynamism to adapt to different opposition with reasonable success last season. Although they may be keeping less of the ball this season, Farke seems convinced his current crop of players can still do the job judging by his minimal summer recruits.
Whether Farke and Norwich will keep some of their key principles or completely change their game plan in their first season remains an open question. Nevertheless, what is very clear is the direction and philosophy Norwich have shown to get to where they are and who knows where it might take them…