Grant Holt: Keeping Buendia and Cantwell key to Norwich Premier League survival

The Canaries secured promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt.

By Press Association Published: 23 April 2021 - 11.00am

Norwich’s biggest transfer of the summer will be keeping hold of key men Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell, according to their former Premier League striker Grant Holt.

The Canaries have secured promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking, with results last Saturday falling into place before they were beaten 3-1 by Bournemouth at Carrow Road.

Daniel Farke’s side, who had won 11 out of their previous 13 games, lost 1-0 to second-placed Watford on Tuesday night, but remain five points clear at the top as they aim to secure the title.

The Norfolk club are set for a crucial summer recruitment drive as they look to avoid a repeat of their last Premier League campaign, having finished bottom on 21 points following nine successive defeats after Project Restart.

Sporting director Stuart Webber will also be determined to fend off renewed interest in the likes of playmaker Buendia and midfielder Cantwell, while promising full-back Max Aarons has been linked with a £30million move to West Ham.

Holt made 168 appearances for the Canaries between 2009 and 2013, scoring 78 goals. He remains involved with the club as an  ambassador and scout for the academy.

Former Norwich captain Grant Holt (centre) lifts the npower Promotion Trophy
Former Norwich captain Grant Holt (centre) helped the club win promotion in the 2010/2011 Championship campaign (Chris Radburn/PA)

The 40-year-old feels retaining the core of the squad which won promotion will be vital for progress back among the elite next season.

“Our biggest transfer will be keeping the boys in the building, if we can hopefully keep Todd Cantwell, keep Emi Buendia and Teemu Pukki as well,” Holt told the PA news agency.

“You can go through the list. A lot of people will be sniffing around our players, so that will be the best transfer we do, keeping them in, then on top of that it is adding little extras.”

Farke maintains the Norfolk club will not break the bank as they chase top-flight survival.

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke (right) walks off with Max Aarons (left)
Norwich head coach Daniel Farke (right) will hope to keep hold of the likes of full-back Max Aarons (left) (Nick Potts/PA)

It is an approach former Canaries captain Holt, who helped secure successive promotions up from League One under Paul Lambert, feels will pay dividends in the long-term.

“People say Norwich did not spend a load of money when they went up last time, but they spent nearly £9.5million on the training facility, which will get the next Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell through our building,” Holt said.

“There is talk about spending £70m – but that does not even make you think you might stay in.

“It is all about how it is structured, having a game plan and about from top to bottom being in the right place.

Former Norwich striker Grant Holt at an event for Your Move, promoting the ‘Your Club, Your Kit’ competition
Former Norwich captain Grant Holt feels the Norfolk club have benefitted from stable leadership (Adam Lees/YourMoveHandout/PA Images)

“Norwich have an owner (Delia Smith) who is stable and loves being at the football club.

“At times she has had a bit of stick, but you wouldn’t swap her because her heart is in the right place.

“We are a club which knows where we are – we are doing everything right in the background, we are seeing the rewards and have arguably some of the best English talent in the country playing great football.”

Holt worked his way up from non-league football to the top flight and was speaking at an event for Your Move, promoting the ‘Your Club Your Kit’ competition for community clubs and school teams.

“There needs to be more help and more schemes, money needs to filter down more to grassroots teams, because these are the people who prop it all up,” Holt said.

“It is so important because teams are struggling to even get a kit, which can cost hundreds of pounds.

“If there is anything which has come out of the pandemic and all of the nonsense which went on around the European Super League, it is that we need to take care of things at the bottom.”

Grant Holt is supporting the nationwide ‘Your Club Your Kit’ competition on behalf of Your Move, official communities supporter of the EFL. To help your local grassroots team and enter the kit competition visit: www.your-move.co.uk/kit

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