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What’s Next for Norwich’s Two Creative Stars?

Emiliano Buendía

Following the Canaries’ relegation, it’s expected that a handful of Daniel Farke’s first-team squad will depart Carrow Road amidst rumoured interest from top-flight clubs. In particular, Emiliano Buendia and Todd Cantwell have showcased themselves as being capable Premier League-level players. In turn, it raises the question concerning what’s next for Norwich’s two creative stars. So, let’s take a look at what the future may hold for both Buendia and Cantwell.

Will Buendia Stay in the Premier League?

Despite Norwich’s troubled campaign, on an individual level, several of their players have shone in a topsy-turvy season. While Pukki’s goals may have stolen the headlines in the opening weeks of the season, Buendia grew into arguably Norwich’s most integral player. After 37 matches, the Argentine only has one goal to his name in 2019-20, which came in a 2-1 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road. However, the reason that Buendia has peaked the interests of numerous clubs is because of his undeniable creativity, as well as the defensive works he does. According to Transfermarkt, the 23-year-old has thus far contributed with seven assists, giving him a goal participation total of 30 per cent.

Impressively, Buendia has been able to achieve such a record in a side that have won just five games all season. Moreover, at the time of writing, the Argentine has the same number of assists as some of the league’s most well-known players, including Bernardo Silva, Marcus Rashford, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane, as per the official Premier League website.

Interestingly, because of this, it’s apparent that Buendia could seamlessly fit into a top-six side. Upon looking at the statistics in more depth, it’s found that the 23-year-old has a higher xA90 (expected assists) and key passes per 90 minutes than Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, according to data from Understat. Although he would be unlikely to provide the same goalscoring output as the Senegalese winger, his recruitment would undoubtedly offer the newly-crowned champions more depth and creativity.

Liverpool’s transfer policy, for example, suggests that a move for Buendia is plausible. In recent years, the six-time champions of Europe’s Moneyball strategy has centred recruitment around data. In this regard, Buendia’s output is likely to appeal. Additionally, the Reds have also shown a willingness to spend on relegated players in seasons gone by, as showcased by Andy Robertson and Georginio Wijnaldum. Moreover, the Argentine is of an age that Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool’s recruitment team target due to his potentially profit-making re-sale value.

On paper, Buendia would be a logical acquisition for the Reds. For the Argentine, on the other hand, a move to Anfield may arguably give him the best chance of winning the title. At some of the best Premier League betting sites, prospective bettors can find odds on world-famous names, such as Liverpool, and explore outright markets, including next season’s title winners. Intriguingly, having claimed their first title in 30 years, the Reds are likely to be among the favourites to retain the trophy next season at operators like 888sport and bet365.

Cantwell Has Plenty of Suitors

Much like Buendia, Cantwell has flourished in a struggling Norwich side. Throughout the campaign, the 22-year-old has unquestionably been one of the Canaries’ most consistent players. Importantly, since impressing in his top-flight debut against Liverpool, the Englishman has continued to develop his game under Farke’s management. Regarding his statistical return, in 36 appearances, the five-foot-ten midfielder has scored six goals in addition to setting up a further two.

Following his eye-catching campaign, Cantwell has been linked with a whole host of Premier League clubs, including Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Sheffield United, and more. According to a report by the Athletic, Norwich will demand around £30 million for the left-sided midfielder in the upcoming transfer window. While Buendia’s output and profile illustrate his suitability to a top-six side, Norwich’s homegrown star may be better off rejecting a rotation role at a title-challenging team in favour of consistent playing opportunities.

In relation to his style, the 22-year-old would appear to be a good fit for Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City, who may seek to bolster their squad ahead of the Foxes’ European adventure in 2020-21. Crucially, James Maddison has taken his game to new levels since leaving Carrow Road for the King Power Stadium, and that is a career path that may appeal to Cantwell.
Additionally, the winger has also been linked with Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United. Statistically, Cantwell could offer the Blades’ more penetration from midfield, as his xG90 (expected goals per 90) is considerably higher than John Fleck’s and Oliver Norwood’s. If the 22-year-old sees his future in a central position, then this move could make sense. However, given that Wilder utilises wing-backs, Cantwell wouldn’t be able to play from the left flank but could move inside to be part of a midfield three.

Shining Through in Troubled Times

While, of course, both Buendia and Cantwell would have dreamt of keeping Norwich in the Premier League, the Canaries’ relegation has left both with a decision to make. Fundamentally, they’re top-flight players in regards to their quality. Because of that, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them both back in the Premier League with new clubs come the start of the 2020-21 season.

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