Norwich City were touted as potential relegation fodder at the start of this season, though the Canaries have proved to be anything but so far. Despite a 6-2 loss to Newcastle earlier this season, manager Alex Neil has crafted a competitive team at Carrow Road.
The draw with Arsenal was indicative of the balance the young manager has been able to find during his burgeoning career as a Premier League tactician. The East Anglian outfit are solid in defensive areas, hard to break down and assured on the ball.
However, through players such as Wes Hoolahan and Robbie Brady, they have some creative attacking options in their ranks. Perhaps what is missing is a prolific frontman to bag 15+ goals a year, but the club are doing reasonably well without one at the moment.
There is still room for improvement however, and the January transfer market could provide the chance to put some much needed breathing space between them and the drop zone.
Considering this, here are three potential ins and three potential outs at Norwich this January…
The Crystal Palace striker hasn’t universally convinced in South London, though represents a solid Premier League striker. Still young enough to improve all aspects of his game, the former Peterborough youngster would slot nicely into the attacking line with his boundless energy.
Reportedly an £11m target the 26-year old is still growing as a player and without ever being prolific, has had a meteoric rise from non-league. Afforded a run in the first team, with creative players supporting, Dwight could be right for the Canaries.
Where Gayle represents a sensible signing, slowly progressing in the calibre of player at Carrow Road, Simone Zaza would be a sensational addition. Granted, the Italian international forward has not quite cut it at Juventus but few do.
Neil is thought to be among a growing list of potential buyers interested in the striker. Creative and collected in front of goal, the 24-year old would truly add another dimension to this otherwise solid outfit.
Stranger things have happened in this excessively wealthy Premier League and we have seen previously unfashionable outfits such as Stoke, Crystal Palace and Leicester land big names in recent times.
Dutch bruiser Ron Vlaar is once again nearing full fitness after a lengthy spell on the side lines and without a club. After leaving Aston Villa in the summer, he was cruelly felled by a serious knee injury that saw a move to Lazio collapse.
The 30-year old, who was so impressive during last summer’s World Cup, is understood to be interesting Norwich as he bids to return to the Premier League.
Despite the defensive solidarity, other than the Newcastle game, shown by the club this term – Vlaar would be an excellent addition. No nonsense and vastly experience, his arrival would provide both competition and cover to the Canaries backline without upsetting the balance too much.
Grabban recently returned to the side after a lengthy spell watching from the substitutes bench and scored against Arsenal to bring the sides level. Neil’s forgotten man hit headlines after netting despite looking as if he would leave when the season began.
However, one goal does not change an awful lot. It will surely bring him back into contention, but with repeated links to the likes of Gayle and Zaza, the 27-year old could potentially be afforded the chance to move on.
Former club Bournemouth are understood to be monitoring his situation with a view to bringing him back to the South Coast this January.
The Northern Irishman cannot get a look in at first-team proceeding this term despite his heroics on the international front. With the most important tournament of the player’s life fast approaching, it seems likely he will look for an escape route from East Anglia this winter in an effort to prepare.
Leeds United were strongly linked with a move for him during the loan window, though nothing could come to fruition. With January fast approaching, Lafferty is reportedly still on the radar at Elland Road and would surely jump at the chance to get prepared for next summer’s showpiece.
For large parts of the season, the towering centre-forward has been a fixture in the first-team so it is perhaps surprising to see him linked with a drop down into the second tier. However, promotion chasing Middlesbrough are understood to be plotting an audacious £8m move to lure the star to Teesside.
The aforementioned Zaza and Gayle would be a significant improvement on Jerome despite his strengths. The former Stoke man is approaching 30 and the reported £8m transfer fee he could command is a large part of the funds to find a replacement.
Jerome is not exactly prolific in front of goal, solid performer or not. He’s been a good signing since he arrived, but £8m should be taken no questions asked.