Last year Norwich achieved back to back promotions by finishing second in the Championship and Lambert near legendary status in East Anglia. In less than two years he finds himself preparing for the challenge of the Premier League and so far his midas touch continues.
As QPR and Swansea struggle to recruit, Lambert moved quickly to bolster his attacking options, bagging Everton’s James Vaughan at the end of May and Millwall’s Steve Morison early in June. A succession of injuries restricted Vaughan’s opportunities at Everton, but he has maintained his reputation with loan spells at Derby, Leicester and Crystal Palace. Still only 24, Vaughan cost in the region of £2.5m and will bring pace to the Norwich front line and should benefit from the hold up play of Grant Holt or Morison.
Brought in at a shade under £3m, Morison is an old school centre forward that has taken both League 1 and the Championship in his stride, having spent the majority of his career in non-league football. Scoring 35 goals in 83 appearances for The Lions has earned him regular international football with Wales and the opportunity to test his abilities against the elite.
Bradley Johnson should also provide a presence in the heart of midfield, having impressed in his two seasons with Leeds, his contract expired at the end of last season and Lambert saw off stiff competition to secure his services on a free transfer.
Ammunition will be provided by League One’s finest in the form of Huddersfield’s Anthony Pilkington and Brighton’s Elliott Bennett. Huddersfield missed out on promotion, despite Pilkington’s 14 goals in 40 games, an offer of £2m was enough to secure his services. Bennett was the main attraction in Gus Poyet’s championship winning Brighton side, scoring 8 times and assisting in more than 20 goals before sealing a £1.5m move.
Lambert has also dipped in to the loan market to reinforce at full-back with Ritchie De Laet arriving from Manchester United and the highly regarded Kyle Naughton the latest signing for Spurs.
A goalkeeper appears likely to be the next to arrive with Newcastle’s Fraser Foster linked with a £2m move and veteran free agent Marcus Hahnemann also an option, Arsenal’s Henri Lansbury enjoyed a successful loan spell at Norwich last term and Lambert remains keen to re-sign him on a permanent deal.
With a pair of strikers that appear to compliment each other, a couple of hungry wingers, eager to make the step up, and a set of full-back’s keen to make an impression on their parent clubs and a combative central midfielder already acquired, Lambert’s transfer policy appears considered and sensible.
The Premier League is unchartered territory for all involved but The Canaries boss will take it in his stride, if Norwich are unable to rise to the challenge, they have a squad they should be able to retain in the Championship, that would present a formidable force at that level.