Norwich City might have suffered back-to-back defeats in the Championship but they’ve secured promotion to the Premier League, with work already underway as they put plans in place for 2021/22.
Daniel Farke’s side were in this position two years ago, preparing for life in the Premier League after holding off Sheffield United and Leeds United in the race for the Championship title.
However, the Canaries were relegated and showed little fight. They collected 21 points, scored just 26 goals and conceded on a whopping 75 occasions on their way back to the Championship.
The bullish nature Farke and his squad have gone about the Championship this season tells you they mean business, and it is widely expected that they will make a better fist of life as a Premier League club next time around.
In response to promotion, Farke has confirmed that Ben Gibson will be returning after a successful loan spell at Carrow Road, with Norwich set to part with £8.5m for the service of the Burnley centre-back.
After a tough spell at Turf Moor, this loan spell with Norwich has been a real positive for Gibson. Football League World looked at the numbers Gibson has produced late last month, when his season was ended by injury.
Gibson has performed well in nearly every defensive aspect this season for Norwich: clearances, interceptions, aerial duel success, defensive duels, as well as showing steady use of possession in a progressive system.
Norwich has suited Gibson, and Gibson has suited Norwich. That’s something you’d expect to continue.
He has shown in the past with Middlesbrough that he’s got more than enough about him to play in the Premier League, proving to be very reliable defensively in 2016/17 despite Boro’s struggles in the top-flight.
For Farke, then, he’s the ideal first signing as he puts building blocks in place at Carrow Road for the Premier League.
Every football expert tells you to build from the back and that’s what Norwich are doing by securing the service of a player that’s served them well in the Championship. More will have to be done, of course, but Gibson is a good place to start.
The 28-year-old’s task on the back of signing will be helping Norwich tighten up against superior opposition. If there’s any chance of them surviving in the Premier League, they can’t afford to ship 75 goals again and rely on players at the opposite end of the pitch.
If Gibson can have the desired impact at one end of the field, you’d hope that Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki have enough to take care of business at the sharp end of the pitch. They’ve oozed class in the Championship, looking Premier League quality at times.
They will get their chance to prove that top-flight quality again thanks to Norwich’s relentless promotion push.
Results might have come to a standstill as Norwich swig champagne and bask in promotion, but there’s no such complacency off the pitch as the club look to put plans in place for an extended Premier League stay.
Gibson is just the start.