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Norwich City: Did Canaries get balance right in the transfer window?

Since Stuart Webber arrived at Norwich, the club have tried to avoid the frantic scramble that is the closing of the transfer window and generally don’t do much business in August, let alone the beginning of September.

Even with the last-minute dash this time around, it never really felt like Norwich wouldn’t bring in the replacements for an injured Josh Sargent and the outgoing Andrew Omobamidele. What is more surprising is the age profile of the players brought in, and over the window in general.

Before this summer and since Stuart Webber arrived, Norwich had not signed one outfield player over the age of 30, either on loan or permanently. The previous cap seemed to be around 28, the age Jordan Rhodes, Mario Vrancic and Pierre Lees-Melou all were when they arrived.

However, this summer has seen this barrier broken six times out of the nine outfield signings made for the first team. This represents a remarkable change in strategy for a club that has heavily relied on making a profit in the transfer market to balance the books. The signings have probably been the most domestic based so far with only Borja Sainz and Christian Fassnacht coming from outside the English leagues.

The sceptics among us might suggest this is a ploy from an outgoing sporting director to deliver instant success, boosting his CV and not worrying on what the future might hold for the club when these players are a couple years older and still drawing a good wage. Although with Danny Batth, Adam Forshaw only on one-year deals and Hwang Ui-Jo on loan the club won’t be too burdened for the long term should they not prove a success.

Norwich Evening News: City will be hoping Adam Forshaw's experience can prove valuable over the course of this season

It could also hint to a more manager led approach, with David Wagner also wanting players that can drop in instantly and provide a short-term boost again not worrying about the long-term.

The optimists among us might say that the very thing that has been lacking from Norwich for the last few years are some experienced heads, wily old dogs, ‘mentality monsters’.

That there has sometimes been too much focus placed on the future without enough concern on the here and now. Out of the older players, Shane Duffy and Ashley Barnes have certainly shown some instant returns. This season represents the last set of parachute payments Norwich will receive and without them in the future then it will be much harder to keep hold of players like Gabriel Sara, Josh Sargent, Jon Rowe etc. This is no time to be developing young players prone to mistakes or fluctuating form.

Where the truth lies, as usual, is probably somewhere in the middle. If Norwich do not get promoted this season, it is likely the last we see of Sara who has been a revelation since finding his feet in English football. He is though, also a shining example of why taking risks on younger players outside of England is worth making as if they come off, they not only produce on the pitch, but their future sale may secure the future of the club off the pitch.

With Max Aarons and Omobamidele leaving this summer the most valuable assets from the academy have now gone, it may be that Rowe can maintain his form and be the next off the Colney production line but if you keep selling your best young players and replacing them with 30 somethings, you eventually run out of assets to sell.

Whether Norwich have got the balance right this summer is something we won’t know for at least another few months, maybe longer. But what is certain is that in his last summer window for Norwich, Webber has once again surprised everyone.

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