We’re 12 days into the frenetic January window, and the Norwich City fan base are begging for mercy as the cloth continues to be cut.
With Alex Pritchard and Yanic Wildschut seemingly sitting in the departures lounge, all eyes now turn to the arrivals, as supporters wait with baited breath to see who will be donning yellow and green come the conclusion of the window.
There is angst on all quarters of social media as Norwich sell despite the sound bites insisting there was little financial pressure to do so. However, when considering the potentially precarious financial situation brewing at the club it comes as little surprise that City has acted to fill a gaping hole in the finances.
Sell to buy, that was the line.
Anger stems from the fact Norwich has been here before however. Top talent like Sutton, Reeves, Ashton, Murphy and Howson (including numerous others) all flogged to rake up funds. Fundamentally, it’s about stabilising the football club and creating a substructure to build upon.
With parachute payments evaporating should Norwich fail to get promotion then sales were always going to be a necessity and with an over inflated wage budget and ageing players earning significant chunks of money, Norwich had to offload and trim the fat.
The state in which the club was inherited by those currently spearheading operations was intricate and this initial period was always going to become one whereby transition and stability were top of the agenda. Previous gross mismanagement and poor decisions sees Norwich stagnate in this division at present, transformation was needed on and off the pitch.
The model previously was experience. Players who were considered to be in their prime and best suited to launching Norwich back to the Premier League. It was a short term approach and one which proved unsustainable. With an aging squad, Norwich needed to adopt a new structure following a failure to gain promotion.
Norwich is now reliant on a method of younger players who are affordable with a potential sell on value in order to survive. The abandonment of senior, experienced players is in search of players who can develop and help make a profit.
Jamal Lewis epitomises the aims with this system.
The circle of life is in full motion; previously Norwich purchased Robbie Brady, Robert Snodgrass and Jonny Howson from lower divisions while in possession of the wealth the Premier League has to offer. Alex Pritchard’s transfer begins a period whereby Norwich needs to stabilise and rebuild.
Change was encouraged and change is in full motion.
Players earning hefty salaries are available for departure. Until Norwich significantly cut the cloth, all talk of constructing a side tailored made for Championship domination is meaningless.
This system requires players who suit formations and not the other way round.
It’s difficult to not feel for Farke however, evidently he would have been made aware of the financial constraints but never did he envisage the sale of three senior players upon his arrival. The constraints of the strait jacket in which he has to operate are incredible.
Pritchard is a Premier League operator. Some will highlight his sketchy and reoccurring injury record but Pritchard’s technical qualities are undeniable. In this division, his qualities are superior to most and it remains to be seen whether Norwich will cope with his absence.
They had just discovered an equilibrium.
He wants to play in the top flight however, and on the surface, Huddersfield is a great move for him. At 24, he will start most games playing in a vibrant and progressive side whilst showcasing his talents to a global audience. Huddersfield is in a position which City used to reside. That’s the reality of where Norwich are.
This deal will be broken up also; Norwich won’t wake up to a sizable sum sitting in their bank account waiting to be spent. This deal will involve intricate clauses and complex installments. Furthermore, how will Norwich replace Pritchard? This move will see Norwich dip their toes into the transfer market, but with Maddison and Hoolahan on the books, a number 10 isn’t required.
There are more pressing positions which require reinforcements.
This Norwich side is becoming devoid of pace, athleticism and natural width. With Pritchard and Wildschut moving to pastures new, the wide areas is a position that requires strengthening.
This new structure is reliant on an efficient academy to provide constant success and with the changes implemented by Webber and Academy Manager Stuart Weaver more long term, Norwich may not reap the rewards for a sustained period. This means more gap filling, more foreign imports and more astute recruitment required.
These are uncharted waters for Norwich City. And Pritchard is just the beginning.