Andrew Lawn has done some digging into City's new Sporting Director.
Who is he and what does he do?
The fleet football Dutch left winger has joined from Wigan Athletic. We spoke to a couple of Wigan fans to find out what we can expect and discovered he loves an ostrich costume. Read on.
We've signed a defender. An actual defender. And not only that, in a position we sorely needed. Jon Punt tried to find out a little bit more about Mitchell Dijks....
By Andrew Lawn
Nelson Oliveira, the deal is almost done and most people are underwhelmed. It seems 26 goals in 143 games (1 every 5 and a half games), doesn't buy you a lot of love in a Norwich fanbase desperate for a striker.
Critics will point to the fact the 6ft 1 Portugal international has had a new club every season, or that he failed to hit the net much at all in the Premier League during his 10 appearances for Swansea back in 2015.
Interesting side note; he has more Premier League goals than Kyle Lafferty.
More recently Oliveira has been plying his trade in the Championship, where he spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest. On paper 9 goals in 28 games (1 in 3) looks underwhelming, but, and there is a big but, Forest fans seem to love him.
A winning goal against Derby helps of course but the consensus seems to be that Oliveira succeeded even in a team that floundered around the bottom half all season and struggled to create chances, let alone tuck them away.
We spoke to Forest fan David Marples for his take on Norfolk's newest Nelson;
"Banging in what turns out to be the winning goal against your local rivals provides the kind of currency that can get you things should you ever be unfortunate to find yourself behind bars. If the aforementioned winning goal skims in off Richard Keogh's arse then you are king of the penitentiary.
9 goals in 28 appearances in a goal-starved team which produced a set of results for the 2015-16 season that resembled an elongated set of binary code was no small feat. Furthermore, Oliveira was often asked to play the role of the lone target man in a team set up to reduce concessions at the back and maybe, possibly, if we were lucky, nick a goal at the other end...preferably a late one.
Lord Nelson - remember, winning goal against Derby - treads the line between looking outrageously talented one minute yet having sausages for feet the next; sometimes all in one beautifully clumsy moment. He'll run around a lot early doors in a game; less so towards the end. He is not blessed with pace. He is prone to sustained bouts of glove-wearing.
His absence for the tail end of last season through a groin injury laid bare the team's struggles in front of goal. Indeed, after he limped of having scored what turned out to be the winner in a 1-0 victory over Preston on 8th March, Forest suffered a horrendous run: chalking up only a point from their next 8 games and scoring only 4 goals. With Britt Assombalonga out for the season, he was pretty much our only realistic goal threat. Besides, even when he was provided with a strike partner, that man was usually Chris O'Grady so, you know, you can only work with what you've got.
There is a hugely talented player lurking within Oliveira's frame. His gait and style doesn't' do him any favours - he often looks knackered - but in a more attack-minded team, he'll score goals. His propensity to bang shots into the stands from distance despite there being other, better options will drive you up the wall. But when he gets it right - like he did on his debut against QPR - it's a sight to behold.
In short, he's not John Deehan but he's probably better than Cameron Jerome. "
David writes for Bandy and Shinty, a Nottingham Forest quarterly fanzine. You can follow him on Twitter @DavidMarples
James Chaplin official signing rating
Nélson Oliveira. A Portuguese international who made several appearances for his country as a 21 year old in Euro 2012, Oliveira has been somewhat of a journeyman in his club career. Now aged 25, City will be his eighth senior club after the Benfica man has had multiple loans away from Estádio da Luz and I have to question why he hasn't settled anywhere.
At 6'1" and broad-shouldered, Oliveira is a powerful, aggressive player and his performances for Forest last season suggest he is a decent all round striker with a good workrate and an eye for goal. Will provide some much needed competition for Cameron Jerome.
If the rumoured price tag of £5m is in the right ballpark, he will be good value for money. 72 footballs.
By Jon Punt
For years there’s been an elephant in the room. For years we’ve wondered. For years it’s seemed almost impossible. Yes, you’ve guessed it, for years we’ve never really had a natural successor for the god like Wes Hoolahan.
So in time honoured tradition, you wait ages for a replacement, only for the proverbial two buses to turn up in quick succession. Alex Pritchard and James Maddison both seem like their long term futures will be in that number 10 role behind the striker, and in all likelihood they have two years to learn their trade from a master craftsman.
Maddison is still a teenager and looks like he may need to bulk up physically before he’s ready for the full time rigours of Championship football. Pritchard however is an altogether different prospect. A glittering career in the Spurs’ youth setup saw him touted as a potential star of the future. Football League loan spells with Swindon, Peterborough and most memorably Brentford have all seen his stock rise.
His season with the Bees in 2014-15 saw him named in the Championship team of the year and on the evidence of the displays I witnessed it would be difficult to argue against it. His ability to occupy pockets of space in between defence and midfield made him almost impossible to mark at times, just ask Steven Whittaker. Actually don’t ask Whitts, the less time we dwell on his ill fated one game stint in the centre of park the better.
The reported fee of £8 million is staggering for a man of his age and experience, but is this now the going rate for top Football League players? Pritchard was the subject of enquiries from a number of Championship promotion contenders and Premier League clubs. The fact he’s well regarded in the game, is the tender age of 23 and has seemingly been tracked by Alex Neil for some time is good enough for me.
In fact the only issue I can now foresee is how to accommodate such a wealth of attacking midfield talent into the starting eleven. The demanding nature of a 46 game league campaign may well have been in the manager’s thinking when adding Pritchard to his ranks, it is however difficult to envisage Wes, J-Madz (yes I really said that) and our latest signing in the same line-up.
That being said, Norwich were at their best in the Championship with a relatively narrow midfield and pacy full backs utilising the space in front of them created by this. Its likely we may see more of the same, and Pritchard’s ability to occupy wide midfield berths may be invaluable.
A top signing, although perhaps not the priority. Now for that much needed number 9, and no, I don’t mean the Konectbus service from Little Melton, that never fucking turns up.
James Chaplin's official rating
Premier League pedigree and now proven in the Championship with Brentford during 2014-15, scoring 12 goals from an advanced midfield position. A young player who could now be entering the next phase in his development, the price seems fairly reasonable. I have concerns that we are now overloaded with attacking midfielders, but is quality in depth a problem? 77 footballs.
Follow Jon and James on Twitter @puntino and @chapper5
By Duncan Edwards
Ok, so he sounds like a Geography teacher that wears jeans, has an acoustic guitar in the corner of the classroom and lets the pupils call him by his first name because he's "cool".
That doesn't matter though, the decision has been made and Mr Moxey - sorry, Jez..- is our new Chief Executive. Already people are knocking their own teeth out with violent knee-jerk reactions, the poor guy hasn't even had his nameplate knocked up yet.
It was clear that we were looking for somebody with "football experience", in fact, this was a pre-requisite for everyone when it looked like Steve Stone might get the gig on a permanent basis but it seems that 21 years in the game with Stoke and Wolves is insufficient. Or perhaps it's all a bit British Rail "wrong type of snow" experience.
He has also overseen an increase in ground capacity - fair enough, they probably suffered on-field because of that expansion but he has experience nevertheless - and was an integral part of the Wolves development of a top-notch Academy facility.
Again, both things that large swathes of our fans are keen to see us press on with, youth and capacity.
Furthermore, he has been part of a club that have been taken over with external investment, an area that most seem to think is either the dream ticket to the Champions League or at the very least integral if we are to become an established top-flight team like, erm, let's go with Southampton, they should stay up.
On the face of it, he seems to tick plenty of boxes and appears a positive and progressive appointment. However, I do appreciate that Wolverhampton might not be the most glamorous of places and no doubt there'll be plenty made of us searching high and low to end up with the bloke who used to work for Delia's mate.
As with anything, it will depend on your outlook.
If you see the club through yellow-tinted shades, it looks an excellent decision - especially if we manage to retain the services of the impressive Steve Stone too.
If you see the club as a plaything for Delia Smith, this will do little to dissuade you that this is a "little Norwich" appointment of an easily malleable puppet of the board. You'll also believe he was heartily recommended by Steve Morgan over a cosy hotpot round Ettie's.
Whatever. Ultimately, if you're against the appointment, you'll end up being proved right because, like Managers, they all run out of road eventually.
For now, welcome to Norwich City, Mr Moxey, just don't start playing Oasis covers on non-uniform day.
And if it does turn out to be a wank appointment, well, at least we can start calling him Jizz.
James Chaplin's official rating
Strong pedigree steeped in football and sport in general. Improved facilities and infrastructure at Stoke and Wolves whilst keeping the books balanced. A high earner, but recently voted Championship CEO of the year. Has left both previous clubs in a better position than when he joined them. 85 footballs.
By Jon Punt
Our second piece of business in the summer window confirmed and you can be forgiven for being rather underwhelmed. Michael McGovern is in the door to bolster the goalkeeping ranks, signing as a free agent, although it is questionable whether this area of the pitch really needed strengthening for a Championship campaign.
If the decision to release Jake Kean and send Remi Matthews out on a season long loan suggests anything it may be that McGovern is vying for a back up spot, whether he’ll be happy with that is a different story though.
It’s difficult to see McGovern instantly commanding the number 1 shirt unless John Ruddy is destined to leave. But then it is rumoured McGovern has turned down Premier League overtures from Southampton in favour of first team football elsewhere. So wait and see on that one.
McGovern is now an established Northern Ireland international after a string of performances at Euro 2016 saw Michael O’Neill’s men outperform expectations. Capped 15 times for his country, most City fans will recall he pulled off a string of saves in a group stage 1-0 loss to Germany, earning him a deserved man of the match award.
But a decent tournament aside, what are Norwich actually getting here? Well he seems to have decent qualities as a shot stopper. Hamilton fans were universally sorry to see him go, and picking through his back story it does seem he has a penchant for penalty saving.
At 6 foot 2” he’s not the biggest, but his physical frame means he should be able to command his box. While the Championship is a small jump up in terms of quality from the SPL Alex Neil has worked with the man before, so perhaps most importantly the gaffer knows what he’s getting.
At 32 McGovern is arguably entering his best years as a goalkeeper. Starting his professional career at Celtic he struggled to break into their senior setup and was subsequently loaned out to Stranraer then St Johnstone. In fact during the 7 years he was on the books at Celtic Park he failed to make a first team appearance. A 2008 move to Dundee United followed, but again his career stalled and the season went by without him starting a game.
2009 is where McGovern’s career started in earnest. A move to Ross County saw him finally break free of his understudy role, quickly becoming first choice stopper. Later that season he was to appear in the 2010 Scottish Cup Final and a move to Falkirk in 2011 saw him continue to enjoy regular football before he joined Alex Neil’s Hamilton Academical in 2014.
Knowing the manager, former colleague Tony Andreu (yes he’s still here and a case in point about the step up in quality) and international team mate Kyle Lafferty may all have been factors in his decision to choose Norfolk.
Given his career to date however, it’s more likely the promise of possible first team football should he perform was one of the main lures. Could this spell further exits from the Norwich goalkeeping ranks? Possibly.
Interestingly McGovern comes from a family with footballing pedigree. His sister Aine has represented Northern Ireland internationally while one of his brothers Joe has plyed his trade as a goalkeeper in the lower reaches of Scottish league football.
Their brother’s move to a more high profile club, along with an excellent tournament showing, may now put their home town of Enniskillen on the map for all the right reasons, rather than the events of 1987.
James Chaplin’s official signing rating
A good shot-stopper, but I expect him to battling with Declan Rudd for a place on the bench rather than offering John Ruddy any real competition. 55 footballs.
By Andrew Lawn
So our first summer signing is in the door and by most accounts it’s one to get quite excited about.
Away from the usual new signing hype and the dry, HR style “Sergi Canós was born in February 1997” (feel old?) what do we know about our new acquisition and what he might bring to the party? Is he a young Redmond impersonator?
Like Redmond, Canós can play across the top end of the pitch, either wide or straight through the middle, be it behind a target man, or looking to get on the end of through balls.
In 39 appearances for Brentford last season Canós played a part in 1 in 5 of Brentford’s goals last term, netting 7 times and laying on 5 assists. 12 goals in just under 40 games, which from the right hand side of midfield, for a team that lost as many games as they won isn’t a bad return. You’d hope he can improve on that in a team that will hopefully be challenging higher up the division.
Given the sale of Redmond, coupled with his season work last year being solely on the right, logic suggests that is where we will see him strut his stuff for us. But is he a direct Redmond replacement?
While not deemed as quick as Redmond, Canós is undoubtedly nippy. Unlike Redmond who appeared reticent at times to commit his full back, Canós is someone who relishes taking on a player who can beat his man on the inside or out, combining quick feet and excellent balance.
According to transfermarkt his performances since arriving at Anfield from Barcelona in 2014, including last year’s successful season-long loan at Brentford, would see him valued at about £650k.
Given we are reported to have paid £2.5m (possibly up to £4.5m) for the lad, this suggests we have overpaid, but tellingly his value has doubled in the last 12 months alone and he’s still a teenager. We have in effect bought his ability (£650k) and his future potential (£1.9m).
Comments on the notoriously reliable and always accurate Twitter, suggests this is a steal, with one impartial commentator, who specialises in tactically reviewing European football and thus has a reliable knowledge of players around the continent going as far as saying;
“£2.5 million for Sergi Canós could be quite the steal. Liverpool would really miss a trick if they get no form of buy-back clause in there.”
Tellingly Liverpool fans appear almost universally to be sorry to see him go. Although the other side to that the eminently more qualified Jurgen Klopp, who is by no means a poor judge of player or character, is willing to sell.
Finally but possibly most importantly of all, according to Wikipedia, his family run a Spanish restaurant, called ‘Gracias’ on Liverpool’s Penny Lane.
James Chaplin’s official signing rating
A player that looks to have pace, skill and a great attitude, Canós could well become a fan favourite. Great potential, but unproven at the level of performance Alex Neil will be looking for. 74 footballs.