Norwich City’s Young Stars Are in High Demand – Which Players Look Set to Leave?

By Ben Morris in Soccer
| April 27, 2020 12:14 am PDT
DescriptionNorwich City Football Club

Despite sitting bottom of the Premier League table and six points from safety with eight games left this season, Norwich City has had plenty of reasons to be positive in 2019/20.

Beating reigning EPL champion Manchester City is undoubtedly the biggest highlight. But throughout the campaign, the Canaries’ young stars have been picking up plaudits.

Norwich may have been stuck in the relegation zone since October. But Daniel Farke’s side has continued to play an attractive brand of soccer, and the club’s youngsters have been key to their style of play.

So, it’s no wonder that players like Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons have been linked with high-profile moves away from the Norfolk club. After all, Norwich would almost certainly have to offload their prized assets if they are relegated at the of the season.

In this post, I present my thoughts on which young players will leave Norwich if the Canaries are relegated by taking a closer look at six of Norwich’s young stars. I assess how they’ve fared in the Premier League this term before discussing whether or not they’re ready to join the country’s top clubs.

Todd Cantwell

There are a number of young players breaking through at Carrow Road at the moment, but Todd Cantwell is arguably the pick of the bunch.

Before the season was put on hold, the 22-year-old had featured in every Premier League game in 2019/20, netting six goals and contributing two assists during his debut top-flight campaign.

Cantwell has consistently caught the eye with his confident performances this term. The versatile midfielder generally operates on the left, but his ability to drift into the middle and find space makes him a serious threat.

His neat close control also helps him to navigate out of seemingly impossible situations, while his snappy short-range passing has unlocked many of the EPL’s best defenses.

Cantwell’s meteoric rise is made even more remarkable by the fact that he was still a peripheral figure at the club last season. The academy graduate only played in half of the Canaries’ Championship games last term. But fast forward to today, and he is now one of their most important players.

Following a flying start to 2019/20, Cantwell was handed his first England U21 cap back in September. And if he continues to shine, I’m sure it won’t be too long before he gets a senior international call-up.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is said to be a big admirer of Cantwell, while Tottenham Hotspur is also reportedly keen to lure the midfielder away from Norfolk.

With Norwich on the brink of relegation, Cantwell looks set to move to one of the country’s top clubs at the end of the season.

Emiliano Buendia

In my opinion, Emiliano Buendia is one of the Premier League’s most underrated players. Despite Norwich’s woes, the Argentine forward has been a revelation this season, and his dazzling displays mean a high-profile move could be just around the corner.

Buendia joined Norwich from Spanish club Getafe in 2018, and it quickly became apparent that he was too good for the Championship.

The former Argentina U20 international helped the Canaries to secure the second-tier title last season, racking up eight goals and 17 assists in his maiden campaign in England.

This season, Buendia has adapted seamlessly to the demands of the Premier League and has gained a reputation as one of the most creative players in the division.

Only Kevin De Bruyne, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and James Maddison have created more chances than Buendia in 2019/20. Considering that three players ahead of Buendia in the rankings all play for a top-three side, the Norwich man must be given huge credit for his efforts.

Buendia has also created more chances than the likes of Jack Grealish, Joao Moutinho, and Lucas Digne, despite playing fewer minutes.

The 23-year-old may not have scored this season, but he currently sits joint-sixth in the EPL assist charts. Again, this is an outstanding achievement for a player from the league’s bottom club.

I can think of a host of top teams that would benefit from Buendia’s services, so it’s going to be extremely difficult for Norwich to hold onto him during the next transfer window.

Max Aarons

England has been blessed with an overabundance of talented young right-backs recently. Alexander-Arnold is widely regarded as the best in the business, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Reece James both have the potential to develop into world-class stars.

But following Max Aarons’ landmark campaign, England manager Gareth Southgate now has another name to add to that ever-growing list.

At just 20, Aarons has made a name for himself as one of the country’s most exciting full-back prospects. Not only is he quick and strong, but he’s also a technically gifted defender, and this makes him a threat at both ends of the pitch.

The England U21 international — who already has five caps to his name — began his career at Luton Town before joining Norwich’s academy in 2016. Since then, he has become a mainstay in Daniel Farke’s backline and played a pivotal role in the club’s promotion push last term.

However, Aarons has only managed two assists this season. His defensive awareness is excellent for someone so young, but he has often found himself restricted in the Premier League.

Personally, I can see him thriving at one of the country’s elite clubs. In a stronger side, Aarons would be allowed to get forward more and contribute higher up the field.

Spurs have been linked with Aarons for over a year now, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the promising right-back moved to the London club in the summer.

Ben Godfrey

Not many 22-year-olds can say they’ve captained a Premier League team. But after Ben Godfrey wore the armband against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa earlier in the campaign, he joined a special group of players.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Godfrey also captained England U21s in September. The fact that he’s been trusted with the captaincy both at club and international level speaks volumes about his leadership qualities.

Just two seasons ago, the young center-back was on loan at third-tier club Shrewsbury Town. But he has quickly matured into a solid defender, and now many believe he’s ready for his break.

Godfrey plays with a maturity far beyond his years, and despite Norwich’s disappointing season, he has continuously proved that he belongs at the highest level.

It’s no secret that there is a distinct lack of top-class center-backs in the Premier League at the moment. Having said that, Godfrey has established himself as a no-nonsense defender, so he is likely to be in very high demand when the next transfer window opens.

Manchester City is just one of the elite clubs in desperate need of a proven center-back, so we could see Pep Guardiola’s side make an approach for the highly rated defender at the end of the season.

Jamal Lewis

Like Aarons, Jamal Lewis also made the switch from Luton to Norwich and has seen his career take off in the Premier League this season.

Admittedly, the 22-year-old hasn’t always been a regular in Farke’s starting eleven. But when selected, he’s invariably been one of the Canaries’ most consistent performers.

Lewis is an athletic and adventurous left-back, specializing in overlapping runs and pin-point crosses. He offers ample support in attack, but his superb stamina also means that his defensive duties aren’t compromised.

The Northern Irishman scored a stunning goal against Leicester City in February, marauding up the left wing before unleashing a spectacular long-rate strike from the corner of the penalty area. Sure, he isn’t in the team to score goals. But this strike proved that he’s got it all.

Lewis may not be as sought after as fellow defenders Aarons and Godfrey, but I still think that he’s got a big future ahead of him.

If Norwich does drop down into the Championship when the campaign resumes, it’s hard to imagine Lewis playing in the second tier again after enjoying such an impressive season in the top flight.

Adam Idah

Adam Idah burst onto the scene back in January when he scored an FA Cup hat-trick against Preston North End. In fact, the exciting striker only turned 19 a month after his memorable treble, but he’s already being touted as a future star.

Idah was born in Ireland and joined Norwich as an academy scholar at the age of 16. After scoring nine goals for the Canaries’ U18 side in 2017/18, Idah netted twelve in 19 Premier League 2 appearances last season.

Inevitably, these numbers soon attracted the attention of Farke, and Idah was given his first-team debut at the beginning of the current campaign.

The Irishman has been in and out of the senior squad this season, featuring in three EPL games and three domestic cup clashes. His opportunities have been limited, but there’s no denying his talent.

We’ve only seen glimpses of what Idah is capable of so far. But if his FA Cup debut is anything to go by, then the young striker is destined for bigger things.

Can Norwich Hold Onto Their Young Stars?

Ultimately, it’s going to be very tough for the Canaries to keep hold of their prized assets if — and most likely when — they are relegated.

There’s certainly time for Norwich to turn things around, but it’s highly likely that Farke’s men will finish in the bottom three come the end of the season.

And even if Norwich does pull off a minor miracle and beat the drop, losing at least two or three of their young stars will probably be unavoidable.

I believe Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons will definitely leave the club during the summer transfer window.

With Adam Lallana on his way out of Anfield, I can see Cantwell fitting in well at Liverpool. The Reds will be on the lookout for a creative midfielder, and Cantwell could fill that void.

Following months of speculation, I’m confident that Aarons will join Tottenham. Spurs are in desperate need of a reliable right-back, so Aarons is viewed as the ideal replacement for the questionable Serge Aurier.

Emiliano Buendia and Ben Godfrey are also likely to be in high demand, but I’m not sure they will be as coveted as Cantwell and Aarons when the window opens.

However, both players have enjoyed standout campaigns, so I wouldn’t be shocked if at least one of them secured a high-profile move.

I think that Jamal Lewis and Adam Idah still have a bit more to prove before they earn their big moves. Yes, they’re both special talents. But the upcoming window might be a bit too soon.

Having said that, Norwich doesn’t have the power to compete with the country’s top clubs financially. So, if the right offer came in for any of their players, they wouldn’t be able to turn it down.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of how the season ends, it’s safe to say that Norwich supporters have been treated to some exciting soccer this season.

Despite sitting bottom of the table for much of the campaign, Daniel Farke has insisted on sticking to his fearless approach, and this has allowed the club’s young players to shine.

However, it’s inevitable that a number of the Canaries’ starlets will be snapped up by wealthier clubs when the summer transfer window opens.

Which players do you think will leave Norwich at the end of the season? And where will they go? Why not discuss your thoughts in the comments section below?

Additionally, head over to the soccer section of our blog for more content like this.

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