A flurry of transfer activity has added to the air of anticipation at Carrow Road ahead of the new season. The Canaries will be hoping the arrival of seven new players increases the gap between themselves and the relegation places and has them looking up, rather than down. Fan-favourite Grant Holt has moved on to Wigan Athletic and two strikers with European pedigree, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper, have been tasked with leading the line in his absence. The strike duo cost over £13.5million between them, an investment the Norwich City fans hope will seem them score more goals.
Chris Hughton has forged a 'nice guy' reputation but do not be fooled, he is as competitive as they come. After conceding nine goals in the opening two games of last season, Hughton reverted to a 4-5-1 system which sacrificed attacking flair for defensive stability. It was a philosophy he stuck with to steer Norwich up to 11th in the table. However, he faced fierce criticism from some sections after an abysmal run either side of Christmas which saw Norwich win just once in 14 games.
Ins and Outs
- Ricky van Wolfswinkel - £8.6m
- Gary Hooper - £5m
- Nathan Redmond - £3.2m
- Grant Holt - £2m
- James Vaughan - £1m
- Simeon Jackson - Free
After an impressive 63 goals in 95 appearances for Celtic, Hooper will now have defences up and down England's top flight in his sights. The 25-year-old wants and England call-up and needs to show why
Nicknamed 'The Bouncer', the powerful midfielder has been brought in to add some bite to Norwich. The 23-year-old, who has represented Holland twice at senior level, failed a medical at Everton last January.
Missed just three matches last season, in that time 12 goals were leaked. The Cameroon central defender has been a revelation since arriving - scooping the Player of the Season award last term.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Only two teams - Manchester United and Chelsea - scored more goals from set-pieces than Norwich last season, with Robert Snodgrass' delivery a constant thorn for opposition sides. An energetic, hard-working unit, what Norwich lack in flair and skill, they make up for in endeavour and commitment. That said, the men in yellow and green mustered the third least goals in the league last season and only found the back of the net 16 times away from home. Hughton will be hopeful messrs Hooper and Van Wolfswinkel can click, and quick.
Hughton has refused to rule out any further signings and the club continue to be linked with PSV Eindhoven attacking midfielder Ola Toivonen. After failing to land Ajax defender Toby Alderweireld, and Sebastien Bassong and Michael Turner both rushing to be fit for the start of the season, Norwich could also be on the lookout for defensive cover.
"We're still a club that's developing. This will be our third season back in the Premier League. We've had two very good seasons in this division but this season - irrespective of what we've brought in - will start just as hard as last season started."
"I'm confident of scoring goals. That's part and parcel of my job but the most important thing for me is I am a team player."
Ricky van Wolfswinkel
Facts and Figures
Robert Snodgrass scored the most goals from direct free-kicks in the PL in 2012/13
Joint-low number of times Norwich managed to hit the woodwork last season
Grant Holt conceded the most fouls than any other player in the league
Times Bradley Johnson was booked in the 2012/13 campaign
Proportion of goals conceded by Norwich from set-pieces last season
Norwich have signed a couple of strikers and I am glad to see that because without them I think they would have struggled and would have been a candidate to go down. I am hoping that the two strikers - Hooper and Van Wolfswinkel - have been bought to score the goals that will keep them in the league. Holt has been a great goalscorer for them over the last couple of years but he has moved on and now I think Hooper will be trying to earn himself an England place.