Despite all the plaudits received for their attacking style of play, ultimately the league table does not lie, and Norwich City were deservingly relegated back to the EFL Championship, just one season after being promoted as champions. The club failed to prepare adequately for life in the top-flight, and now there will be changes galore as the management try to make it back to the Premier League immediately.
Norwich are already one of the favourites for promotion next season at one leading bookmaker Betway, but they will need a lot more than just favourable opinions to make those dreams come true again. While two signings made in January are now available following the end of their loan spells, there are still quite a few holes in the squad which director of football Stuart Webber will need to fill. At the same time, there are likely to be quite a few departures which who will need to be replaced, with many of Norwich’s young players having caught the eye during their Premier League campaign.
Norwich have already signed attacking midfielder Keiran Dowell from Everton, central midfielder Jacob Sorensen from Esbjerg and winger Przemyslaw Placheta from Slask Wroclaw. However, there remain some areas of priority. A left-sided centre-back is needed, especially if Ben Godfrey departs, with Timm Klose having quite injury-prone over the last couple of years. Burnley centre-back Ben Gibson is a potential option here, with the former Middlesbrough defender free to move on from Turf Moor this summer.
Defensive midfield needs beefing up as well, as Alex Tettey is getting on, even with Melvin Sitti’s arrival, as Tom Trybull and Moritz Leitner are likely to depart, leaving Daniel Farke short of too many options in that area of the pitch. They need to bring in a striker to support and provide rotation for Teemu Pukki as well, even though they have signed Danel Sinani on a free transfer.
The true test will be in replacing one, or both of Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell. The former is a bargain £1.5 million signing (rising to £6 million upon promotion in the 2018/19 season) from Getafe, while the other is an academy product, but both of them were extremely impressive in their debut Premier League campaigns, and have drawn admiring glances from elsewhere as a result. Webber has a task on his hands to find similar bargains to replace them, which will not be easy. Lastly, there is a need for a goalkeeper to challenge Tim Krul as well, as the only other options at the moment are 36-year-old Michael McGovern and 22-year-old Aston Oxborough – one who is in the twilight of his career and another who is just starting out, but both of whom are not good enough to provide competition for the former Dutch international.
Daniel Farke had worked wonders in first getting Norwich promoted, and then managing to bloody a few noses during their Premier League stay. If the club want to get back to that promised land, and more importantly, stick around for a while, their recruitment in the upcoming window will need to be spot on.