Now that Norwich City’s promotion back to the Premier League is officially confirmed, those behind the scenes should reflect on an unsuccessful top flight stint which ended just one year ago.
For the 2019-20 season, Daniel Farke’s Norwich finished rock bottom of the Premier League. Their lowly five wins for the season left them a full 15 points from safety in a campaign which was seemingly doomed from the start.
When excluding Sam McCallum’s transfer fee, who did not touch the pitch for Norwich in the Premier League, the Canaries only forked out £1.5 million for transfers in preparation for their season-long showdown with the country’s big spenders.
Undoubtedly, that extremely cautious decision was mainly in light of the financial stress which followed Norwich’s 2014 relegation after having splashed out on the likes of Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper and Nathan Redmond the previous summer.
The simple fact is, though, that unless Farke’s side want an embarrassing repeat of last time, caution will have to be thrown, at least partially, to the wind.
Their instant bounce back to the top flight owes plenty to their ability to hold on to sought after stars like Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell, Emi Buendía and Teemu Pukki.
Indeed, Pukki has had another prolific season in the second tier, while Buendía is in the running for Championship player of the season after a stellar campaign which has once again seen him linked elsewhere. With clubs like Arsenal and Liverpool sniffing around the Argentine, one would imagine the Canaries will need to show more long-term Premier League ambition to keep him grounded in East Anglia.
Of course, the simplest way to do that is in the summer transfer market. With the financial implications of a global pandemic looming large, nobody is expecting a frivolous spending spree at Carrow Road, but significantly more than the £1.5 million they managed two summers ago will certainly be required.
Take Newcastle for example. The Magpies have been embroiled in a relegation scrap for most of the season despite turning out with a £40m Brazilian striker, flanked by two £20m wingers. Of course, Norwich do not have that level of spending power, but it illustrates the necessity of spending in order to stay in the Premier League.
If Buendía’s heart is already elsewhere, a fee of around £45 million should give Norwich a healthy boost when heading into the summer window. What they do thereafter will go a long way to determining their Premier League future.