Five players Norwich City should sign

Sports Mole looks at five players that may be of interest to Norwich City manager Chris Hughton this summer.

Things may have got a little bit nervy in Norfolk towards the end of last season, but Norwich City were able to retain their status as a Premier League team.

While the table shows that they finished 11th and eight points clear of the drop zone, supporters will remember that at times it was a little too close for comfort.

Manager Chris Hughton has reacted to that by signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel and turning Javier Garrido's loan move into a permanent one, but more work is needed. Here, Sports Mole has picked out five more players that could perhaps push Norwich into the top 10.

Johan Djourou, Arsenal

As far as signing a centre-back goes, not many managers did better than Hughton last year when he recruited Sebastien Bassong from Tottenham Hotspur. The Cameroon international went on to become a key player for the Canaries with a string of stubborn performances.

The Norwich manager needs to do a similar piece of business this time around. Michael Turner, Leon Barnett and Ryan Bennett can all fill in alongside Bassong, but there are doubts over their ability at the highest level.

Granted there are also concerns over Djourou, who was shipped out on loan to Hannover for six months in January. He must have some positive attributes though because Arsene Wenger has kept him at Arsenal for so long.

It's worth remembering that Bassong had fallen out of favour at Spurs and arrived in East Anglia with a point to prove - perhaps Swiss defender Djourou could do the same thing?

The other bonus is that with his contract running out, the Gunners would not demand a big fee for his signature.

Johan Djourou and Adel Taarabt© PA Photos

Liam Bridcutt, Brighton & Hove Albion

Aside from Alexander Tettey, there are not too many midfielders in the Norwich squad that are the most natural when it comes to the industrious side of the game. That's not to say that the likes of Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington don't put a decent shift in, it's just they are more content while in possession of the ball.

Over the last 12 months or so, Bridcutt has been regarded by many to be one of the best players in the Championship.

Granted he is comfortable on the ball, but his main role in the team is to stop attacks then pass to the more creative players on his side. The 24-year-old seems to have an everlasting supply of energy as well.

He started his career at Chelsea, but having seen that his chances were limited at the Bridge (surprise, surprise), he went away to Brighton and learnt his trade under Gus Poyet.

The Seagulls lost out in the playoffs though and the midfielder is now said to be open to the possibility of a switch to the Premier League.

Liam Bridcutt© PA Photos

Wilfried Zaha, Manchester United

Isn't this the player that has just joined Manchester United for £15m? Why on earth would they let him leave so soon? Well, as it stands, Zaha is going to have a tough job to break into the United side. Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young all play in the same position as him, while Shinji Kagawa, Tom Cleverley and Ryan Giggs can also operate in wide attacking roles.

And if reports of Thiago Alcantara's arrival are proved to be true, his opportunities could become even more limited.

With that in mind, perhaps David Moyes would be prepared to loan out the 20-year-old to see if he can cut the (Colman's - get it?) mustard in the Premier League.

Yes Norwich would only be getting him for the season, but for those few months he would bring pace and a direct style to Carrow Road that is likely to cause problems for defenders.

Nathan Redmond is also a possibility, but he is also of interest to Swansea City. Zaha, if available, would be more than an adequate second option.

Shaun Maloney, Wigan Athletic

Wes Hoolahan is a bit of favourite down at Carrow Road and it is understandable why. He's a clever footballer that provides the link between the midfield and centre-forward(s).

However, in that position you are expected to score goals. From 33 Premier League outings last season, Hoolahan netted just three. Add to that the fact that he only made three assists as well and it wasn't the Republic of Ireland international's most productive campaign.

Maloney was cast from the same mould as Hoolahan, but is arguably an upgraded model. He did play three more matches than Hoolahan, but scored six times and laid on eight for his fellow Wigan players.

The campaign before he also showed that he is capable of scoring very important goals - highlighted by the curling strike that gave the Latics a 1-0 win over Manchester United.

What's more, his delivery into area from free kicks and corners are dangerous and something that the likes of Bassong and Grant Holt would benefit from.

Wigan's Shaun Maloney scores a late equaliser against Southampton on February 2, 2013© PA Photos

Arouna Kone, Wigan Athletic

Hughton badgered Celtic for Gary Hooper during the January transfer window, but the Scottish champions were having none of it. While the Englishman is expected to move on this summer, a number of other clubs are now thought to be in the running for his signature.

So, who are the alternatives? Well, Norwich have secured the services of Dutch international Van Wolfswinkel, which is quite a coup, and they already have Holt and Luciano Becchio - a duo not exactly known for their speed over the ground.

Someone that is though is Kone, who showed last year that he has pace to burn. He also possesses an eye for goal, scoring 13 times for a struggling Wigan side.

His link-up play with Maloney was also impressive and if Norwich could land the pair, it could well prove to be some smart business.

Barcelona attacker Thiago holds off two challenges.
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