This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Norwich already seem to be preparing for the summer transfer window and for potential striking reinforcements, with The Sun (27/03, pp.67) claiming that the Canaries are considering a bid for Ross Stewart.
The forward has been in fine form for the Black Cats this campaign and has really stood out in the third tier, bagging a superb 22 goals in just 39 league appearances for his side so far.
In fact, it’s been his goals that have helped carry Sunderland towards the play-off places despite some torrid results and a changing of managers halfway through the season. Stewart has continued to lead the line well and find himself amongst the goals – and now he is drawing attention from higher up the table.
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The Canaries might be facing some time back in the Championship if they are demoted and regardless of where they end up, it looks like they will be eyeing some striking signings in the summer. Stewart is once such name that has cropped up – and whilst he is inexperienced higher up, it could be a gamble worth taking.
Should Norwich move for the Scotland man then? Could he cut it in the Championship or higher? Should the Canaries look elsewhere? Should Sunderland cash in? We asked some of our writers for their verdict…
Ross Stewart is the top scorer in League One this season and has been quite impressive for Sunderland.
Norwich look certain to drop to the Championship, and could be in need of a new striker if Teemu Pukki leaves the club.
Stewart would be a smart replacement option if Pukki does leave.
The forward looks ready to make the step up to the Championship and has proven himself to be a prolific striker, which Norwich will need to bounce back to the Premier League.
If Norwich were to remain in the Premier League, you would have to say the jump up to the top tier may be a step too far for the Scotland international at this stage.
The one thing you can say about the 25-year-old is the fact he can rise to a big challenge with huge expectations, filling in well for Charlie Wyke who left the Stadium of Light on the expiration of his contract last summer.
Filling his shoes was a big task but Stewart lived up to it well and he certainly has the goalscoring pedigree to move up to the Championship.
It could be argued he has only had one amazing season on Wearside – but his three goals in 12 appearances last term shows he was a player that wasn’t given enough of a chance to shine.
And now he’s proving his quality, he deserves a move to the second tier, so Norwich could be pulling off a coup if they come back down to the Championship and land the 25-year-old.
A long term successor to Teemu Pukki definitely needs to be sourced at Carrow Road this summer.
At this stage of their careers, Josh Sargent and Adam Idah do not look anywhere near ready to lead the line for the Canaries on a consistent basis.
If Sunderland do not win promotion to the Championship this season, then, entering the final year of his contract, Ross Stewart could provide value in the market, still only 25 years old.
The Scotsman may be better suited to a team lower down in the second tier to adjust to the level, but with the Canaries’ long term vision, he could be a valued squad member in a promotion push under Dean Smith.
It does not jump out as potentially excellent business, but in a few years it could be one we look back on as a smart piece of recruitment following a likely relegation.