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Sorry to keep banging on about Norwich, but they really have set the template for other Championship clubs, especially clubs like ours that simply doesn't have the cash to splash on signings. Apart from bringing through the likes of Aarons, Lewis, Godfrey and Cantwell from their academy (all of whom played more than 50% of games in the Championship last season), they have done spectacularly well in terms of the players they've brought in - for very low fees.
Since this time last year Norwich brought in (figures from Transfermarkt): Leitner joined for 1.5 Million Euros from Augsburg, Pukki joined for free from Brondby, Buendia joined for 1.5 Million Euros from Getafe, Tim Krul joined from Brighton on a free transfer, Ben Marshall joined from Wolves for 1.7 Million Euros, and Rhodes joined from Sheffield Wednesday on loan. Only Marshall of the above didn't play a big part in Norwich's Championship winning side - and that was mainly down to the emergence of Aarons. To put the above in context, all of these players cost far less than Celina, and also cost less than Asoro (2.3 Million Euros).
If you look at the previous season, after Stuart Webber joined in April 2017, Norwich also signed the likes of: Zimmermann joined Jul 2017 for free from B Dortmund II, Trybull joined for free from Den Haag in August 2017, Vrancic joined from SV Darmstadt for 0.75 Million Euros in July 2017, Stiepermann joined from Bochum for 1.7 million Euros August 2017, Grant Hanley joined from Newcastle for 3.8 million Euros in August 2017. Only Hanley cost more than £1.5 million - the only Championship-sourced player (significant?), and the only disappointment.
Norwich have set the bar very high - but have at least shown how it's possible to achieve great success on a shoestring. Many of the elements that they had to achieve success (Category One academy, progressive footballing philosophy, Premier League training and physio/medical support) are in place at Swansea. The huge remaining missing piece in the jigsaw is the equivalent of Stuart Webber. Should we find someone with his drive, insight and capability we'll be flying.
If you can't be bothered to listening to Stuart Webber's interview in full (which incidentally is probably the most insightful thing I've ever heard that's relevant to Swansea's situation), then listen from 1:00:41 onwards - where he discusses recruitment specifically:
I would argue that the Head of Recruitment position is more important for our long-term success than the managerial one - important as that is too. Stuart Webber got two clubs promoted from the Championship - in Huddersfield and Norwich - without spending money that the clubs didn't have. A big factor in his success is his knowledge of foreign markets, both managerial and player-wise. His recognition that German football coaches have a far more rigorous preparation than their British counterparts was an important element in his ability to steal a march on his Championship counterparts, who are still over-reliant on under-prepared, often big-name ex-player, British coaches.
Although I'm confident that Birch and co appointed the best suited candidate of those interviewed it is a bit of a concern that only very few foreign coaches without extensive experience of British football featured amongst the runners and riders (e.g. Kasper Hjulmand). This perhaps reflects the narrowness of the experience of Birch, Curtis and Leon within the British game. Will the same scenario play out with regards to the Head of Recruitment position? I sincerely hope not. We really need to spread our net far and wide, and recruit internationally, if that's where the best candidate's experience lies. We may be lucky and land ourselves a Stuart Webber, with experience here and abroad - but failing that I'd rather see a HoR with an extensive contacts list abroad, and an in-depth understanding of under-appreciated markets (Scandinavia and eastern Europe) to complement Steve Cooper's contact list.
I strongly recommend the YouTube interview with Stuart Webber embedded in this article: https://trainingground.guru/articles/stuart-webber-climb-of-the-canaries . It's over an hour long, but well worth a listen, if only for the digs at the Cardiff approach to things.
This is a guy with a track record of falling out with chairmen, owners, directors of football, you name it. And you have him ludicrously backing Suarez's vampire tendencies, just because of their shared nationality: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2313352/Luis-Suarez-bite-Liverpool-striker-blame-says-Gus-Poyet.html
Has it really come to this?
If there were no suitable candidates at all out there you could understand the underwhelming list of candidates. But Kasper Hjulmand is both available and ticks so many boxes - possession-based, short-passing football, over-achieving with a small club, bringing through youth players. If we haven't even considered him as the next manager I would really doubt that we have the right people in place to make the appointment. Trevor Birch strikes me as great to sort out the financial mess we're in, and probably has a better understanding of the going-rate for contracts in the EFL than anyone, but his background is as an accountant. Does he have the coaching credentials to be leading the search for a new manager? No he doesn't. And much as I trust Curtis' and Leon's gut instincts, do they have the coaching background and contacts throughout the European game to have a good grasp of the managerial talent that is out there? They will probably make the best selection of those they interview - but are they interviewing the right people?
I'd be more reassured if we appointed Toshack as caretaker manager and concentrated on bringing in a Stuart Webber type DoF and taking player and managerial recruitment from there. Watch the video in this article and you won't fail to be impressed: https://trainingground.guru/articles/stuart-webber-climb-of-the-canaries At one point Webber says that he has 4 potential managers lined up to replace Farke, should he leave for any reason. Did we have one prior to Potter's departure?