Norwich will not spend big ahead of Premier League return, says former chairman Ed Balls
Former Norwich chairman Ed Balls believes the club will learn from their last spell in the Premier League and resist the temptation to spend “loads and loads of money” on players.
Norwich secured promotion from the Championship with Saturday’s 2-1 win over Blackburn and a point from their last game of the season at Aston Villa on May 5 will be enough to see the Canaries crowned champions.
Balls was appointed chairman the last time the club were in the top flight in the 2015-16 season and witnessed first-hand how a January spending spree failed to prevent them from being relegated.
“We went into a January window where we were mid-table but under pressure (and) we spent a lot of money. I think we were the seventh-biggest spenders that January,” Balls told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme.
“It didn’t work, we went down and for the last three years the club has been dealing with the consequences of the salaries and the expenditure and the length of contracts which you can commit to in the Premier League.
“I think the club has learnt something very important, which is if you just simply throw loads and loads of money hoping it will work right now and it doesn’t, then it can really undermine your club for a long time into the future.
“They will definitely be thinking to strengthen, but on the other hand they know they have a core of a Premier League squad here and what they won’t be looking to do I think is just throw big money at established, known players.
“They will be looking to be strategic and to strengthen in some areas but whatever happens next season, and of course we want to stay up, we want to stay on a trajectory which is a five-year view, not a five-month view.
“I think they will be judicious but, if the recruitment this summer is as good as last summer, Norwich have got a real chance of staying in the Premier League.”
Defender Christoph Zimmermann was studying to be a teacher before signing for the club in June 2017 as he struggled to make a name for himself in the lower leagues of German football.
“It’s so hard to describe,” he told BBC Radio Norfolk. “Two years back I wouldn’t have dreamt of it.
“I’m really grateful to have been given the chance to prove myself here, to get some games and show that I’m capable of playing at the professional level because unfortunately I had not been given the chance back in Germany.
“I was already planning for a life without football because it didn’t seem that likely to become a professional at the age of 24.”