Chris Hughton’s third signing as manager of Norwich City has seen Robert Snodgrass move to the club from Leeds United on a three-year contract. The 25-year-old arrives for an undisclosed fee and follows Jacob Butterfield and Steven Whittaker to Carrow Road as the former West Brom boss begins his restructuring of the Canaries since replacing Paul Lambert earlier this summer:
The acquisition of Snodgrass continues Norwich’s plundering of the Leeds midfield in recent times – this is now the third successive transfer window they have snapped up a player from Elland Road, following the signings of Jonny Howson and Bradley Johnson. Hughton was full of praise for the new boy, with Snodgrass’s set-piece ability and delivery from the flank expected to add a considerable threat to the Canaries attack next term:
“Robert is an excellent addition to the squad and I’m delighted to add a player of his calibre to the team. He is a player I have admired for a number of years now and he’s at a good age at 24, with some excellent experience from his time with Leeds. He’s also got that international experience with Scotland and is used to playing in big matches both with his country and at Elland Road. He had a good goal-scoring record with Leeds and obviously knows a few of the lads already with the squad well from his time at Elland Road and with Scotland.”
Snodgrass’ career began in his homeland with Livingston FC back in 2004-05. After joining the club as a youngster, he made his debut two days after his 17th birthday and, having allegedly turned down a trial with Barcelona, scored six goals in 42 appearances in his first two seasons before sustaining a broken metatarsal. Upon recovering, he spent a brief loan spell at Stirling Albion, scoring five goals in 12 league games, before returning to Livingston for a final season to notch nine times in 31 matches.
In 2008-09, Snodgrass made his way to Elland Road to play under fellow-Scot Gary McAllister and was a virtual ever-present during his four years at the Yorkshire club. The Scot featured in 168 league games, returning 35 goals and 35 assists, though his form last season is indicative of his potential; 13 goals and 15 assists in 43 Championship appearances earned him both the Players and Fans Player of the Year accolades. Snodgrass has played for his country at Under 19, 20 and 21 level and has also made five appearances for the senior side, scoring his only goal against Denmark in August last year.
Typically, there’s always some reluctance when it comes to investing in new acquisitions when a new manager is also factored into the equation – the sceptre of uncertainty hangs heavy over Carrow Road right now. Norwich’s attacking game harvested 52 goals last season – a tally only bettered by the top six teams – but, with Paul Lambert leaving to take the reins at Villa Park, it remains to be seen as to whether Hughton will maintain the same sort of offensive oulook. Bearing in mind the Canaries conceded 66 goals, the former Birmingham boss may look to shore matters up at the back – this could, potentially, lessen the appeal of their more attack-minded Fantasy assets.
Despite being predominantly left-footed, Snodgrass is versatile enough to be utilised on both flanks but is typically fielded as an inverted winger on the right flank, suggesting he could establish himself as a regular ahead of Elliott Bennett in the pecking order. He’s yet to be added to Fantasy Premier League (FPL) but Snodgrass’ set-piece duties are likely to see him come in around 6.0 – more in line with the highest priced Canaries midfielders, Anthony Pilkington and Wes Hoolahan, as opposed to the 5.0 valuation afforded to former Leeds pair Howson and Johnson. He has also yet to be added to the Sky Sports game.
Analysing the opening schedules, it’s likely that Fantasy managers will be content to keep their distance from Norwich’s assets over the first few matches of the season. Granted, the home games against QPR and West Ham in Gameweeks 2 and 4 respectively look potentially prosperous but aside from those two matches, the first eight Gameweeks are anything but straightforward for the Canaries. Trips to Fulham, Spurs, Newcastle and Chelsea are likely to prove problematic and with Liverpool and Arsenal also rolling up to Carrow Road, giving Hughton’s men a wide berth could well be a wise move until the fixture list begins to smile a little kinder.
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