Scouting Report: Taking a Closer Look at Norwich City’s Summer Signings So Far

After an underwhelming 2016-17 Championship season during which the Canaries finished 8th, it was widely seen that multiple areas needed strengthening if Norwich City were going to mount a serious challenge for promotion.

New Head Coach Daniel Farke has already signed youth goalkeeper Angus Gunn and midfielder Harrison Reed on loans from Manchester City and Southampton respectively, however here is an insight into the five senior players who have already moved to Carrow Road permanently.

1. Marley Watkins

A deal to sign former Barnsley forward Marley Watkins was agreed on 1st June on the basis that the Welshman would join on a free transfer upon the expiration of his contract at Oakwell. Watkins scored 10 goals and provided nine more during the 2016-17 Championship season and has signed on a deal that will keep him at Carrow Road until 2020. 

The former Inverness man was recently called up to the Welsh national squad for the first time and was part of the Barnsley side who won the Football League Trophy and League One Playoffs during the 2015-16 season. 

While being most frequently deployed on the left-wing during his time at The Tykes, standing at 6ft 1in Watkins can also provide extra height upfront as a target man. A lack of a cutting edge in attack was pivotal to an underwhelming 2016-17 season for the Canaries, with only five points taken front teams finishing in the top 6. 

While a top quality striker is still needed, the 26-year-old could prove to be a real coup particularly considering Jacob Murphy's impending move to Newcastle. 

2. Mario Vrančić

Having agreed personal terms on 8th June, Bosnian midfielder Mario Vrančić was the second player to make the move to Carrow Road. Vrančić joined on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee from German 2. Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt 98 and it is believed that the Bosnian had been tracked by new Head Coach Daniel Farke for several years during his time in Germany.

Vrančić started his career as a youth player at Mainz 05 before gaining experience in the German second division with Paderborn 07 and moving to former Bundesliga side Darmstadt in 2015. Relegation at the end of the 2016-17 inevitably generated interest in the 28-year-old who was joint top league goalscorer for Torsten Frings’ men. 

A senior international who made his debut for Bosnia in 2015, Vrančić operates as a left-footed playmaker and it is hoped that the midfielder can bring a creative spark to the team similar to the now ageing and identically-footed midfielder Wes Hoolahan.  

3. Christoph Zimmerman

German defender Christoph Zimmerman signed a pre-contract with the Canaries on 15th June on a two-year deal which became official on 1st July. The formed Dortmund II player plays mainly as a centre-back, but can also provide cover at right-back if necessary.

The 24-year-old captained the Dortmund youth team under current Norwich boss Daniel Farke last season and was widely seen as the figurehead of the German side’s back line.  

Standing at 6ft 4in, Zimmerman will add a new dynamic to the Canaries’ defence who were susceptible to the long-ball and showing signs of ageing. Although youth player Ben Godfrey has shown that he is capable of challenging for a place in the first team, Norwich fans should expect Zimmerman to partner Timm Klose at the heart of the Canaries defence.

4. James Husband

Left-back James Husband signed on a three-year deal on 11th July and will walk straight into the first team at Carrow Road. Despite being only 23-years-old, Husband has already amounted 174 appearances in the Football League and is widely seen as one of the league’s finest wing-backs. 

Husband broke into the Doncaster Rovers first team at the age of just 18 and played a key role in Donny’s title winning season of 2012-13. Despite being on the periphery after a £500k move to Middlesbrough, Husband excelled during loan spells at Fulham and is a player that can still improve with game time. 

The former Huddersfield man’s transfer comes after talks to sign loanee left-back Mitchell Dijks broke down, however the former Boro player provides a calmer option who excels when overlapping in attack as much as he does in defence. 

Husband is a player who is very capable of helping Norwich move further towards the playoffs and could provide versatility down the left-flank in a similar way to how current Burnley player Robbie Brady did during his time at Carrow Road.

5. Marcel Franke

The signing of Marcel Franke on 14th July for an undisclosed fee from 2. Bundesliga side Greuther Fürth marked Norwich’s fifth signing of the summer transfer window. 

The 24-year-old centre-back started his career at Dynamo Dresden and signed for Greuther Fürth in 2015 following a two year stint with Hallescher FC. Last season Franke featured 31 times as Fürth finished 8th in the German second tier in their fourth season since relegation from the Bundesliga. 

A similar player to fellow signing Christoph Zimmerman, Franke adds height and youth to the defence at Carrow Road.