It is now more inevitable than ever, that Norwich City will be back playing Premier League football next season, after barely a year away from the top-flight.
Having picked up their 11th win in 13 games with a 1-0 win at Derby County on Saturday afternoon, the Canaries now need just two more points from their five games of the season, to seal an immediate promotion back to the top-flight of English football.
Consequentially, it seems certain that Norwich will have to be busy in this summer’s transfer window, strengthening their squad to ensure that they do not suffer the same fate of an immediate relegation from the Premier League in 2021/22, as they suffered during 2019/20.
If they are to do that, then it appears that judging by recent starting linueps named by Norwich manager Daniel Farke, one position they will simply have to address, is the centre of defence.
Recent weeks have seen Norwich dealt two damaging blows to the heart of their back four, with first Ben Gibson and then Christoph Zimmermann ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury.
That is something that has exposed the lack of options in that particular position, with captain Grant Hanley finding himself partnered by 18-year-old Andrew Omobamidele at centre back in what, with the exception of one very brief substitute appearance earlier in the campaign, was the teenager’s first experience of senior football.
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Admittedly, Omobamidele has performed impressively while starting each of the Canaries’ last three games in the absence of Gibson and Zimmermann, that could be rather different next season, when he would be facing the pressure of playing for a side looking to avoid relegation from the Premier League, rather than one that is cruising to promotion from the Championship.
Given the size of the step up that would be for a player with the relative lack of experience that Omobamidele possesses, and the fact that Gibson is currently only on loan until the end of this season, leaving Hanley and Zimmermann as Norwich’s only two senior centre backs going into the summer transfer window, it seems essential that they recruit in that position come the end of the season.
Indeed, it already appears as though Gibson is set for a permanent move to Carrow Road come the summer, and bringing in another established and experienced option would certainly ease the nerves around this situation happening again, since Norwich have already seen that it is far from an impossible occurrence.
Considering that could also open the door for Omobamidele to head out on loan and get the regular first-team experience he needs to further develop his career, it seems this is something that could benefit the club in several different ways.
It seems Norwich will be keen to learn the lessons of their last Premier League season as they prepare to make their return to the top-flight, and this feels like an indicator that there are things they can take from their experience back in the Championship as well.
The challenge now, is surely one of finding the right man to fill that particular role.