Norwich City was crowned champion of the EFL Championship for the second time in three years following a 4-1 victory over Reading on May 1.
For manager Daniel Farke and the Canaries, the priority now is to avoid a repeat of the immediate relegation suffered in 2019-20. To that end, Norwich has wasted no time this offseason bringing in additions to the squad. Farke and sporting director Stuart Webber have already secured the signings of four players before the summer transfer window officially opens.
The departure of star man Emiliano Buendía to Aston Villa earned Norwich $42.2 million. He will undoubtedly be missed, coming off an excellent season in the Championship in which he scored 15 goals and assisted 17. The Canaries' effort to replace his contribution got underway with the $12 million signing of Milot Rashica from Werder Bremen, relegated from the Bundesliga after a 17th-place finish this season.
We are delighted to confirm the signing of winger Milot Rashica from Werder Bremen!
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) June 22, 2021
The 25-year old Kosovo international appeared in 100 games for Bremen, scoring 27 goals and contributing 19 assists. Rashica said after signing, "It has always been a dream for me to play in the Premier League and I'm so happy that Norwich have given me this great opportunity ... I want to continue to learn and develop as a player and person. The style of play will suit me very well."
Farke praised the attacker, who signed a four-year contract, commenting, "He can play a number of positions, as a winger, striker or number ten. He's a pretty versatile player and we're happy to be able to bring a quality player in." Rashica, full of pace and more than happy to run the channels, provides Farke with several options in terms of setting up the attack.
The Canaries took advantage of Bremen's need for cash to secure a bargain for a player who has drawn serious interest from sides such as RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen in the past. Along with Rashica, there is another new arrival in Norwich in the form of Angus Gunn, arriving from Southampton on a four-year deal for a fee of $6.4 million.
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) June 23, 2021
Having come through the Norwich academy, the 25-year old goalkeeper returns to his roots after spending the last campaign on loan with Stoke in the Championship, where he started 15 games. Gunn moved to the Manchester City youth setup in 2011 before returning to Carrow Road on loan for the 2017/18 season, when he played 51 games and kept 16 clean sheets.
Gunn said on his return, “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s the club that I grew up supporting and the strides that it has made over the last few years show it’s a club still on the up." Of his new goalkeeper, manager Farke said, “We got the feeling that Angus will be the perfect fit to our goalkeeping group ... We’ve got two very experienced goalkeepers in Tim Krul and Michael McGovern and a young goalkeeper in Daniel Barden. Angus fits perfectly into this goalkeeping team.”
Also returning to Carrow Road are two players who spent time last season on loan with Norwich: center back Ben Gibson and left back Dimitrios Giannoulis. Gibson, 28, played 27 games for Norwich last season and secured a permanent move thanks to a fee of $10.7 million. Giannoulis was signed for $8.25 million from PAOK having played 16 times for Norwich after coming in on loan in January.
Buendía's departure contributed much-needed funds, which Norwich sorely missed last time around in the Premier League. Ahead of the 2019/20 season, the Canaries spent under $15 million on new players. Farke's side went on to lose 27 games and concede a league-worst 75 goals. The work, though, is well underway to ensure this spell in the top flight lasts longer than the last.