There has been much talk during the opening weeks of Norwich City’s season about the need to swell the striking ranks, so much so that the search for “a 20 goal a season striker” has become something of an obsession.
This mythical player that we don’t have suddenly becoming more crucial than those we do.
The somewhat toothless performance against Sheffield Wednesday did little to quell the hysteria, particularly as we seemed to abandon the idea of playing with strikers at all once Cameron Jerome was withdrawn in the second half.
But how important is signing a new striker? Do we actually need one? Or is this search nothing more than a footballing wild goose chase?
It seems like fairly safe logic to say having a good centre-forward converting a higher proportion of the chances fashioned for him is going to increase a team’s chances of success.
However, the supposed definitive link between us purging the coffers for a striker during this transfer window and us achieving our ultimate goal of promotion this season is probably a bit tenuous at best. Our recent history would certainly suggest as much.
In the 28 years I’ve been watching Norwich, an admittedly arbitrary period, a grand total of 4 players have managed to hit the equally arbitrary threshold of 20 goals in a season, they being Chris Sutton, Iwan Roberts, Grant Holt (who did it twice) and Cameron Jerome. Roberts also fell just short on 2 other occasions when he managed 19, as did Robert Fleck and Robert Earnshaw.
However, looking back through our rather sparse hall of 20 goal fame raises some interesting points that might be worth bearing in mind before we take too many steps along this potential wild goose chase.
There are, of course a number of arguments to suggest that we could get caught with our trousers down if we don’t reinforce our striking options this summer.
Even if Jerome were to rediscover his Championship-level mojo, one might still quite reasonably be concerned by our lack of depth up top. In Jerome’s absence we’d look pretty threadbare in that department, as indeed we did with Steven Naismith operating from the centre-forward position on Saturday.
Furthermore, it goes without saying that supporters will always want to see progress in the right direction, and demanding a constant turnover of better players is part and parcel of this process.
However, we, like many yo-yo clubs before us, currently find ourselves in the position of comparative luxury, in that we have a manager and the nucleus of a team that collectively know what it takes to win promotion from this division, so radical change may well actually be our enemy this time around.
Splurging a heap of cash on some sexy go-getter up front will always look like an exciting quick fix, but history would seem to suggest that it’s unlikely to actually be the answer to all of our prayers.
We should remember that the last time we went hunting for one of these curious beasts we ended up with Ricky van Wolfswinkel, still our most embarrassing investment despite now having a screen that none of us can see. So perhaps we should just be a bit careful what we wish for.