Norwich City: Why Johan Elmander Is a Clever Signing for the Canaries

Andy WardContributor IIAugust 21, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04:  Johan Elmander of Galatasaray battles with Kieran Gibbs of Arsenal during the Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and Galatasaray at the Emirates Stadium on August 4, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Norwich City added to their firepower once again this week, with Swedish striker Johan Elmander becoming the latest forward to come through the doors at Carrow Road.

It was a move that wasn't met with universal approval from all Canaries fans, with question marks over Elmander's age and goalscoring record drawing a lot of attention from a minority of supporters.

However, although the move won't make the footballing world rub their eyes in disbelief in the fashion that the capture of Ricky van Wolfswinkel did earlier in the summer, it could be argued that it's another very astute piece of business from Chris Hughton, who is slowly but surely starting to build his own team now.

After observing Norwich City's opening day draw with Everton, it became apparent that the Canaries were short of a truly physical presence at the sharp end of the pitch, and in the shape of Elmander, they now have someone who fits that particular bill to perfection.

The loss of Grant Holt, both as a talisman and as a sheer battler, was always going to be a difficult hole to fill, but Elmander is just about as close to Holt as you are likely to get.

Apart from the fact that the pair look like long-lost brothers, the two strikers even play in the same all-action fashion, and Elmander's arrival should go some way to easing the significance of Holt's departure.

Against Everton, the aforementioned van Wolfswinkel faced a tough introduction to English football, and in truth, Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka were able to deal with him quite comfortably. 

As such, the ball kept coming back when Norwich played it up to their lone striker, and that inevitably resulted in the Blues occupying the majority of the possession. 

Such a scenario wasn't the Dutchman's fault. It just isn't his game to battle it out with two towering centre halves.

Instead, van Wolfswinkel is far happier looking to get in behind, and that is why the presence of someone like Elmander could prove to be key in determining how successful the Canaries are as an attacking force this season.

Elmander is far more suited to the so-called "dirty side" of the game, and his ability to win flick-ons and hold the ball up will give Norwich a much-needed outlet.

Furthermore, the Swede is capable of providing a magnificent option to come off the bench of the last 20 minutes, and you can be rest assured that tiring defenders will not relish the thought of coming up against such a committed player in the closing stages of matches. 

Admittedly, Elmander's goalscoring record isn't ground-breaking, but you get the feeling that his season will revolve more around bringing others into play rather than being expected to hit the back of the net on a regular basis.

That responsibility instead lies with the likes of van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper, and although Elmander may not go on to grab the headlines in the manner that those two could conceivably do, he may just turn out to be every bit as important. 


Follow Andy Ward on Twitter