There has been a mixed reaction to this season, because some fans are not a fan of the defensive football that Chris Hughton has employed. The weekend’s defeat to Wigan Athletic was certainly not something that was anticipated. It was that little reminder that the survival job isn’t quite done yet.
Of course, it has caused a section of fans to go into a sense of panic believing that the club will be relegated. However, I’m sure Hughton knows exactly what he is doing. He has planned the season out carefully to this point.
The Wigan defeat was just one of those things that happens over the course of the season. There is a bit of work to be done, but Norwich are nearly there now. I think everyone will rest a lot easier if a home win can be secured in the next game against Swansea.
Anyway, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the Canaries successfully finish the job off and survive in the Premier League this season. At that point, it would be a very interesting summer period as the preparations begin for a third consecutive season in the top flight.
Of course, it’s then that you start to think of the club as an established side in this division, and those sorts of teams have recognizable, international-calibre players. One of those in the shape of Ricky van Wolfswinkel will already be playing for Norwich next season.
However, he may not be the only prestigious name that comes in through the door. The team have earned the right to be ambitious with their transfer policy due to their previous cautious nature. This doesn’t mean that it’s time to be reckless, but careful foreign purchases might be the name of the game.
There is already a strong core of British and Irish players at the club; they may feel it’s that bit of foreign quality that is required now. The Championship is not a division that is likely to yield many gems as the club continues to progress, and Premier League sides will not relinquish their stars easily to a rival.
Nevertheless, it might be that a value and low-cost strategy is not the name of the game here. But Norwich will still want to get the best quality they can for the money available. And we know that the foreign markets usually perform better in that regard than to stay British.
Most of the current speculation features foreign players and those that are a step up in quality to what we have been used to. Hughton will know that there are some aspects of his team that he wants to improve on significantly.
The job he has done of the defence has been admirable; it’s certainly the biggest single area that Norwich have improved in. And the majority of us feel that Sebastien Bassong has been a revelation in leading that defence. His defensive partnership with Michael Turner has been crucial.
It’s really down the other end where things need to improve. The money has been invested on Ricky van Wolfswinkel, but we still need to be sure that we can provide him with adequate service. Chance creation hasn’t been hugely good this season, and it’s been particularly bad in recent games.
It’s likely that he is prepared to spend a significant chunk of change on a player that can create for the Dutch striker, and an attacking midfielder that can score wouldn’t go amiss either. Goals win games, and Hughton will be painfully aware that this is an area that the Canaries must get better at.
He doesn’t need reminding that a top scorer that has just five goals is nowhere near good enough in the Premier League. Of course, he has acquired a Dutch striker to try to solve that problem, but fans will be demanding a drastic change in style next season.
Hopefully, Hughton can put his faith in a defence that has played so well this season but have a more adventurous style. However, in order to do that, he must acquire the attacking players that he is looking for during the summer transfer window.