With the transfer window slamming shut yesterday, there were many deals going through involving Championship clubs. One of the highest profile players to be arriving to play in England’s second tier is former Manchester City player Antoine Sibierski who has signed on loan for Glenn Roeder’s Norwich City.
The Canaries have been in desperate need for a striker with a physical presence. Darrel Russell – who normally operates in midfield – has been forced to move up front in recent weeks to partner either Jamie Cureton or Arturo Lupoli. Now that Antoine Sibierski has arrived, the Norwich fans will be hoping they can pick up their first win of the season against Plymouth Argyle in their next game.
So what type of player are Norwich getting? Well, as with any 34-year-old moving down a division, he will bring experience to what is a relatively young Norwich squad. He will also provide Glenn Roeder with the ‘target man’ he has been craving since the departure of Dion Dublin at the end of last season. It is the second time Glenn Roeder has signed the Frenchman, he brought him to Newcastle United on transfer deadline day in August 2006.
In terms of some other moves involving Championship clubs yesterday, there were two others that stood out to me. Blackpool have made a good loan signing by securing Rangers midfielder Alan Gow until January. The 25-year-old – who could sign permanently in January – is an attacking midfielder and should excel in the Championship.
Then there is departure of Coventry midfielder Julian Gray to Premier League side Fulham. This is a strange transfer really and I’m not sure why a loan deal was agreed as opposed to a permanent transfer. Regardless though, it will be a huge loss for Chris Coleman at Coventry. He is one of their better players and considering they have lost their last two games, it isn’t ideal that he is leaving. They will be searching for a replacement in the loan market I’m sure.
One of the most significant factors of the whole transfer window though, in my view, is that fact that Reading have managed to hold onto prize assets Kevin Doyle and Stephen Hunt. With reference to Championship football odds, they remain one of the promotion favourites having kept these two players.
As ever, it will be interesting to see how the players that have moved to the Championship – such as Antoine Sibierski – will adapt to playing in what is a very physical and competitive league.
Bristol City chairman Steve Lansdown has backed new signing Nicky Maynard to help the club win promotion this season. The young striker signed from Crewe Alexandra this week for a substantial fee of £2.25m and is expected to believer the goods for his new club.
Steve Lansdown believes that he could be the ‘missing link’ between Bristol City and the automatic promotion places. He also believes that the amount of money they spent on Nicky Maynard shows how far they have come as a club.
He’s not wrong. This time last year after winning promotion to the Championship, a look at the football odds would have told you they were expected to be relegated. Instead they only just missed out on promotion, losing in the play-off final to Hull.
The key to them going one better this season is quite simply – scoring more goals. Remarkably, they scored 34 fewer goals than West Brom last season and even Colchester United – who finished bottom – scored eight more goals than them. That maybe highlights the competitiveness of the Championship more than anything else, but Bristol City could certainly do with upping their goal tally. They can’t always rely on 1-0 victories.
It seems that Nicky Maynard is the man they believe will solve this problem and make sure they are one of the promotion favourites. The 21-year-old striker – who attracted interest from Ipswich Town – scored 15 goals in League One last year and certainly arrives with a positive reputation. Whether he can score goals at Championship level remains to be seen, but I think it is clear he has the ability. He would have been brought up well at Crewe and will be relishing his new challenge. I presume he has an ambition to play in the Premier League one day, so this is the start of his journey to doing just that.
The big question is though – will he make it with Bristol City this season? Well, as much as I am unsure about their automatic promotion credentials, they certainly have a chance of securing a play-off spot. Should they do that, they will have as good a chance as anyone – it is a lottery at that stage after all!
One thing for sure is that it is not going to be easy. The Championship is stronger than ever and if Bristol City are to recapture the form that saw them finish fourth last season, they are going to have to up their game even further. Nicky Maynard will be hoping to help them do just that.
After what has been one of the longest transfer sagas of the summer as far as the Championship is concerned, Blackpool winger Wes Hoolahan has finally signed for Glenn Roeder’s Norwich City. The deal is worth £250,000 with Norwich City keeper Matthew Gilks moving in the opposite direction.
Glenn Roeder has been actively seeking a left winger since he decided not to renew Darren Huckerby’s contract at the end of last season and now it appears that he has got his man. Considering that Wes Hoolahan was one of Blackpool’s best players last season, it seems he has got his man at a very reasonable price as well.
So, what type of player are Norwich getting? Can he fill the shoes of the departing Darren Huckerby? Well, I think they are different types of players. Darren Huckerby relied more on bursts of pace and a direct approach to taking on defenders, whereas Wes Hoolahan is more of a skilful player who can ‘thread the ball through the eye of a needle’ according to his new manager.
One thing is for sure – if Wes Hoolahan can win over the Carrow Road faithful in the same way that Darren Huckerby did during his time at Norwich, he won’t go far wrong. The former Manchester City winger was a huge player for Norwich and it will be interesting to see how Wes Hoolahan adapts to his new club.
This is Glenn Roeder’s second signing of the summer after he secured the signature of Sammy Clingan from Nottingham Forest earlier this month. However, it is a list the one time Newcastle United manager must continue to add to as Norwich’s squad is rather depleted following a summer clear-out.
A look at Championship football odds will tell you that Norwich are one of the favourites to be relegated to League One. However, if Glenn Roeder can secure more players in the Wes Hoolahan bracket of quality, he will be hoping that this is far from the case.