The dizzy lights of the Premier League have sent our fellow promoted sides transfer-mad: combined, they’ve spent over £100 million so far.
While their nerves shake, Webber and Farke remain as composed as ever. They’ve strengthened Norwich City’s squad with four astute new signings, who play in different areas of the pitch but share two crucial things in common: they have a lot of potential, and a lot still to prove.
In goal, we welcome 30-year-old Ralf Fährmann, who has signed a season-long loan deal from German giants Schalke 04. The 6-foot 5 shot-stopper arrives at Carrow Road with an enviable track record: he’s captained Schalke for 178 Bundesliga matches, earnt 32 caps for Germany’s youth teams, and enjoyed Champions League experience as recently as last season. But having lost his position as Schalke’s number 1 to young talent Alexander Nübel, Fährmann will be desperate to take Tim Krul’s place in-between the City sticks and prove to those who doubt him that he remains a top-quality keeper.
The City defensive line also boasts a new name, and this one might sound more familiar - Sam Byram. The 25-year-old right-back, who can also play on the wing, has signed a four-year deal from West Ham United for £750,000 - adding his name to the long list of ex-Leeds United players who have chosen to play on greener grass at Carrow Road.
By age 22, Byram had played 143 games, scored 10 goals and made a big impression at Leeds, which earnt him a move to the Hammers in 2016. A succession of injuries marred the next few seasons for Byram, who made just 33 appearances thereafter, but here’s hoping that he can benefit from the opportunity to build upon the talent and versatility he once showed.
When you have ‘Football Heaven’ Buendia on one wing and ‘the Cuban Pele’ Hernandez on the other, you might think… what’s the point in strengthening the midfield? But the pair have Manchester City material to contend with now, in the form of 22-year-old Patrick Roberts, who has joined on loan for the season.
Roberts moved to Man City for £12 million in 2015 after sparkling in the Championship for Fulham aged 18, before joining Celtic for a fruitful loan spell - his 15 goals from 55 games helped them remain unbeaten during 2017/18. He joined Girona on loan for the following season, but couldn’t prevent their relegation from La Liga. He now must reignite the spark that earnt him his high-profile admirers.
Finally, we turn to the player who faces the greatest challenge of all: becoming City’s leading striker, and unseating Teemu Pukki in the process. That task falls to 26-year old Swiss international Josip Drmic, who has signed a three-year deal from Borussia Mönchengladbach on a free transfer. After a prolific spell with FC Zürich, Drmic signed for FC Nürnberg: although he couldn’t prevent his side’s relegation from the Bundesliga in 2014, he scored 17 goals in 33 matches - the third highest in the league that year.
That earnt him subsequent moves to Bayer Leverkusen and to Gladbach, where a long-term knee injury in 2018 halted his goalscoring form. He now has the opportunity to get back to his old ways.
So, Fährmann, Byram, Roberts and Drmic all have plenty of potential - and plenty to prove - as they enter the Norwich City fold for the 2019/2020 Premier League season. Under Daniel Farke, a coach who has proven his ability to bring the very best out of his players, I think there is every reason to be excited about these signings.