With Sunderland winning in midweek, Norwich City were relegated despite a 4-2 victory against Watford on Wednesday night. Many pinned the club's problem on a lack of goals, especially up front, but the decision to sell Bradley Johnson towards the end of the summer window looks in hindsight to have been the wrong move.
The midfielder made the surprising transfer to Championship side Derby County back in August, just a few months after he helped the Canaries seal promotion to the Premier League. His experience at the top level of English football would have been a bonus but with his excellent goal tally from the season before, it seems strange to allow such an influential player leave so easily.
Johnson notched up 15 goals in 2014/15, by far his most prolific season to date and it served as a real boost for a Norwich side that started slowly. He was a consistent attacking presence, timing late runs in the box well to add to his well-known ability from range when given the space to strike at goal.
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The former Leeds man was the club's second top scorer in the league, behind only Cameron Jerome. He scored only two less than Jonny Howson, Wes Hoolahan and Graham Dorrans combined, showing just how much of an important goal threat he was.
Even this season, while not quite as prolific, he has notched five goals in 30 appearances for the Rams. They have a pretty stacked midfield that they rotate regularly but when you compare that record to Howson, Dorrans, Alex Tettey and Gary O'Neil at Norwich, who have five goals combined, it's easy to see that his contribution was missed.
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Given the knowledge that Norwich have struggled in the past for goals in the Premier League, it was the primary reason they went down in the first place, they could not simply rely on Jerome to blast them to safety. They brought players in that Alex Neil did not give enough game time to and others that impressed last year like Johnson and Hooper were not available to him.
That lack of recruitment in the summer and the fact they decided to sell him so late looks like a decision that helped begin the team's decline.
Even if they thought he was surplus to requirements, with him leaving and no real replacement, we are left to question the management of the situation and exactly why it was allowed to go through.
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