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Ten to watch in 2013/14 - 5. Nathan Redmond (Norwich City)
Buying the big name players from abroad is all well and good, but picking up the cheaper English players from the lower divisions and turning them into Premier League players is a different skill entirely. There’s no guarantee that the potential will be realized, but if you’re shopping in the bargain basement sub £5million zone, the rewards for getting it right are huge.
When present Norwich City manager Chris Hughton was in charge at St Andrews, he had a prodigious young talent on his books by the name of Nathan Redmond. The club has been in financial meltdown for a while, and back then it was important to give young players their heads, as bringing new signings was always going to be problematical. Sometimes however, triumph comes from adversity, and in August 2010 the callow figure of Redmond trotted onto the pitch for his Blues debut.
Since that time, he’s been one of those players that is talked about as being a potential Premier League player, but until Hughton returned to Birmingham to snap him up for what in future could be seen to be a paltry sum of just over £3million – although there are potential add-ons - no-one had taken the plunge. Birmingham City fans lament the loss of Redmond, who many consider to be on a par with Wilfred Zaha, who Manchester United signed for a fee over three times greater than that paid for Redmond.
It seems that the player himself was keen to rejoin Hughton. Speaking to the club’s website, he said that “He was very influential on my career at Birmingham. He gave the chance to play and the chance to express myself every time that I stepped on to the field and I feel like on the bigger stage he'll do exactly the same thing. I'd probably say I've played some of my best football under him so far."
Capable of playing from the wide, or off the front man, his performances for a struggling Birmingham City side saw him honoured at U212 level, and he played in all three games of England’s abortive European Championships this summer. New manager Hughton says that “He is a player that was of interest to us for some time and the situation has now come about that we can get him on our terms. “
I guess that’s the key, should Redmond justify Hughton’s faith in him and become an established Premier League player with the team, that £3million, perhaps up to £5million with the add ons may seems awfully cheap.
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