After months of being linked to a potential return to the German Bundesliga, Josh Sargent has completed a transfer to newly-promoted English Premier League side Norwich City in an $11 million deal that will have U.S. men’s national team fans at least a little worried about whether it could be a risky switch.
It wasn’t a difficult decision for Sargent, who will now have a chance to compete in the Premier League, joining Christian Pulisic and Zack Steffen as the lone Americans set to compete in the league this season.
“I think the Premier League is the best league in the world and it’s going to push me and challenge me to be a better player,” Sargent said in an interview with the club website. “I heard it’s a good group of guys and I talked with the head coach already and I really like what they’re trying to do here at Norwich. I’m very excited to get started.”
Sargent will join a Canaries side that won the League Championship last season, but has already seen midfield standout Emi Buendia leave in the summer transfer window, while star playmaker Todd Cantwell has been linked to a move to join Buendia at Aston Villa in the wake of Jack Grealish’s transfer to Manchester City.
If the Canaries can hold onto Cantwell to go with Finnish striker Teemu Pukki and newly-acquired Werder Bremen midfielder Milot Rashica — Sargent’s former and once-again teammate — Sargent could find himself playing in a much improved attack than the one he played in at Werder Bremen last season.
Reuniting with Rashica should also help the 21-year-old as he adapts to a new team and new league.
“I talked to Milot Rashica a lot about it and he’s only had positive things to say about here,” Sargent said. “It’s definitely a plus knowing him. He can introduce me to all of the guys. I was already going to feel comfortable coming here but having him will help a lot.”
Pukki is Norwich City’s lead striker, but Sargent will provide depth at the position and can operate as a second striker, or even as a wide forward if Canaries manager Daniel Farke deploys a 4-3-3 formation.
“I like to think my main position is a number nine, but I am also very versatile,” Sargent said. “No matter where I play, everyone can expect that I will give my all, my 100 percent and hopefully score some goals.
See you on Saturday! 🍿
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) August 9, 2021
Sargent is under pressure to earn regular playing time with the Canaries if he is going to maintain his status as the top striker in Gregg Berhalter’s U.S. men’s national team setup. The competition at the role has increased, with Jordan Siebatcheu, Gyasi Zardes and Daryl Dike among the players trying to push for the starting spot.
With the USMNT set to begin World Cup qualifying in September, making it an important next three weeks for Sargent, who is just 21, but who arrives at the Premier League with experience as a Bundesliga and national team starter.
“I’m still very young,” Sargent said. “To get so many, not only games, but starts and to get so much time in the games has helped me gain a lot of experience and hopefully I can bring it here to the Premier League.”