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Josh Sargent completes Norwich City transfer, ready to compete in “the best league in the world”

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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.

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.”

Comments

  1. I’m not sure why everyone is so down on Norwich. They comfortably won the Championship last year, have people who have PL experience. It’s pretty common for at least one of the Championship sides to stay up.

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    • if anyone is beefing about norwich they’re being really silly acting like he should have signed up to sit further down the bench at an even better team. the real beef i see voiced on the thread is whether he should have signed at a different team less committed to its forwards, or gone to a team that saw him as a striker, or dropped down a little on quality, or otherwise calibrated his choice differently. most of the people defending his choice do so for either financial reasons or on the idea he will get on the field somehow, next year maybe, or perhaps wide, and undo the situation he’s put himself in. surely someone holding onto the NT striker job with his fingertips can give himself a better platform than this.

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  2. There is a fair amount that he can learn from Pukki — whose movement and finishing are exceptional. And since he’s now 32, there will be opportunities to play…

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  3. Hope it works. Psychologically, hey, maybe it is the best move because he isn’t under any pressure to be The Guy, he’s the hunter and not the hunted, and he’s the young upstart and not the guy with the spotlight in his face. Always easier to be that guy than the expected savior of the club, struggling to make every goal while the English press tears you to pieces every time you fail to convert. Gives him a bit of time to learn, a bit of time to adapt, and could prove to be all the difference.

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    • I don’t know, when you’re either a record or near record signing the fans and press are going to expect results. Also if they sell Cantwell they’re going to need Josh and Rashica to produce and quickly. Some of that tempered because the staff will get a lot of blame for signing a striker to likely play mostly wide.

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      • Maybe he is a record for Norwich, but in terms of the EPL. it is chump change, especially considering what was paid for Grealish this year and Werner last year from Leipzig. Werner set a low bar for strikers from the Bundesliga, fortunately for Sargent.

  4. I don’t know what it is but USMNT fans are always scared when our guys make a big move. We did the same thing to McKennie at Juvi, let them sink or swim. If they have the talent they’ll find a way to make it over there.

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      • He had a few successful loans latter in his career, but his career did not start off so well in Europe. I love Landon, he is my favorite all time athlete, but if you want to know why USA fans get scared about our players making big moves in Europe it because we watched our golden boys in the past go to places like Leverkusen, or Sunderland, and Benfica and not make it. Pulisic kinda changed all that. Let’s hope this is our new normal. However I still get nervous, because it was so common our guys didn’t succeed in the past.

      • people forget BL had a second shot at LD in 04-05 and while they actually played him that time they were still under-estimating him. people also forget that at this time players like keller were ending up places like rayo. the welcome was more cold and LD proved them wrong.

    • Clint Dempsey was one of the best players in the EPL near the end of his timer at Fulham. As I recall he came in 3rd in voting for Player of the Year. And he was definitely under the English radar when he went over to Fulham.

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      • and there was the whole friedel/howard thing. they would go over to the big clubs like people urge now. they would get burned first time they had an off day. they would go to some midtable team and be EPL keeper of the year there. that is not our problem. that’s their problem. what has happened is the reception evolved, the number of players moving has risen, and so we get taken more seriously. my issue here is not so much him signing in england as specifically where. you pick wisely you could play there years. you pick poorly you’re sitting bench and on loan in 6 months. i don’t get leaving a relegated team starting you to sit bench. only way out is maybe they play him wing, which doesn’t help his NT deptch chart slot.

  5. Considering what Norwich paid I am sure Sargent will get plenty of playing time and I am confident he will do well. Probably Norwich won’t score tons of goals, but Sargent is good at doing lots of other work and every goal he scores will be meaningful. I’ll be rooting for Norwich City this year.

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  6. I like it. I think he plays Saturday, even if he doesn’t start. Comes on in the 75th minute and gets to toss himself about a bit. Within a couple/few weeks, I think he can be part of the starting lineup, linking up with his friend Rashica and learning how to combine with Pukki. Farke likes a battler and I think Sargent’s workrate will win him some fans.

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    • your best hope clubwise is they turn him into a right wing because they have a starting 9. that then poses NT complications like hoppe has wide.

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      • Sargent is signed for four years, Pukki is signed for one. This year, Sargent could be used as a second forward in a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2, as a wide forward, or as a sub for Pukki as the lone forward. After this year, who knows what happens? Does Pukki extend or does Norwich let him go and hand the reins to Sargent to be the man? But it seems certain that Sargent will be at Norwich longer than Pukki.

        Versatility is good, so if Josh becomes comfortable playing in a wider position, it makes him more valuable. I could see Berhalter using Pefok and Sargent together up front if we need a goal, with some combination of Pulisic, Reyna, Aaronson, KDF, Weah etc. behind them.

      • Ditto that, Johnny. Norwich didn’t buy Sargent for him to languish. Think of it, at worst, as an apprenticeship under Pukki (a player with a knack for doing exactly what seems to be missing from Sargent’s repertoire: scoring). At best, he works his way into the first team sooner than anyone imagined and he carves out a niche for himself. What if he plays in the right of attack for a year, hones his scoring instincts, and becomes the main guy next season. I’ll take that over a season in the 2. Bundesliga. I really would.

      • i get your apprenticeship theory but what you’re missing is he has been struggling for club and country, the striker competition for the USA has heated up, we are about to start qualifying, and in a year if pukki retires or moves on, he will have served his apprenticeship during quali. including any splinters aspect to that apprenticeship. if that undercuts his standing with the NT this cycle, any succession benefits post pukki will be 2026 cycle stuff. and the reality is we have many young players competing for slots so any slippage of spot on the depth chart could become a 10 year fact of life. zardes is old. most of the rest aren’t. if you open the door with a career choice now you will be fighting your way back in the rest of your career. historically US players would consolidate for this part of the cycle and get greedy after qualification or start of next cycle. only silly people risk sitting right when quali is arriving. while playing for Coach Club Form.

  7. It seems making a living in Europe in this sport is all about taking risks and taking advantage of opportunities when they arise. Sargent is one of those players who continues to manage his career well. I think Sargent had hit a plateau at WB, and playing in B2 for a year would not help him professionally. A young player joining a Euro top 5, such as Sargent, Busio, or Tesserman, may be better able to earn playing time and be successful with a newly promoted team. If the team falters, and you impress, you are in line for a transfer. Sargent also has improved his transition game and hold-up play at WB, which Norwich will likely use to their advantage.

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    • @PN, Totally agreed. Norwich German manager, Daniel Farke was Dorussia Dortmund II manager during 2015-2017 and has crossed paths with and coached Pulisic for a year before CP promoted to the senior team. I’m sure Farke has continued to follow Bundesliga and scouted Sargent at Bremen (most likely had a big role in in recommending to Norwich’s executives in buying Sargent) since he became head coach at Norwich.

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    • funny but his career doesn’t read as a brilliant calculation like he’s haaland or something. his team got relegated, he’s stalled on his progression, and after being handed the NT 9 job, he hasn’t scored in 2 years and the pack is now nibbling at his heels. i realize snobs love the “feel” of his choices but in practical terms he’s spinning wheels and he just signed to an EPL club who are fine with their striker. so he goes from starting XI in B.1 to a backup in EPL. he just started the first 2 B.2 games. progress?

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  8. are these guys’ agents crackheads? horvath goes to the one team in the bottom 19 or so of the championship where he won’t start. sargent knowing what happened to soto signs up to be a backup at norwich.

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    • Sargent will be getting over $1 million of his transfer fee. He was getting a little over $1 million per year at Bremen and will probably get more at Norwich. He signed a 4 year contract. That’s what it’s all about.

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      • surely you see where the second half of the summer tournament pair was an attempted exercise — somewhat ineffective, though i am sure the coach will use it to revive zardes — at reshuffling the 9 pool. particularly with Coach Spreadsheets and the arrival of quali is this the time to be sitting? historically the idea was for pool players to make such risky moves first half of the cycle and by second half be comfortably placed to get minutes…..and to me it’s like no one in german 2d or championship or holland or the like was like, hey, come play here, we were impressed with werder, we’ll start you?

    • I’m sure they’ll treat someone they paid a 12 million transfer fee for (one of the biggest in club history) the same as someone they got on a free.

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    • I said this in another article posted but I’m not in love with this move either. Who knows what his options really were but this is a really risky move. I think of how jozy’s career really took a nosedive after he joined Sunderland. He was playing the best of his career at AZ and for national team in that period. A move to a team capable of playing attacking soccer would benefit him more even if it’s not the big $$ and limelight of the premier league.
      I think Sargent will get enough PT. I also think he will be doing plenty of ball chasing for a relegation contending team who just sold their best player. It would be a success if he could hit even 7 premier league goals this year

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      • Sunderland didn’t really derail Jozy’s NT career though. Even with frequent injuries Jozy had some of his best years of his career after moving to Sunderland and later to Toronto. Jozy signed with AZ, July 15, 2011, he played his last game with them in May 2013 in that time he scored 1 NT goal, if you expand it to the day he signed with Sunderland it was only 5 goals. So during his best club time he had his worst NT time. You have to remember Jozy had 3 managers in the first three months at Sunderland. Farke seems pretty safe at this time so hopefully it won’t be the same situation.

      • JR. he scored 7 goals in the summer of 2013 before moving to Sunderland including a wonderful hat trick against Bosnia I remember well. Sure, there are other factors that slowed Jozy’s career down but he was undoubtedly playing his best soccer when at AZ. He was in the zone playing on an attacking team and scoring goals.

      • Funny you should mention Altidore….Sunderland was a terrible team for him, even with the coach at the time of his signing. He was starved for service. It was always going to be a lost cause, like playing for Hull. He should have gone to France. I believe he had some offers there to start for some clubs. It would have been an advancement to a better league than the Eredivisie without all the pressure. OR he should have signed as a backup for a team like Everton. Lukaku is the type of player Altidore COULD have been but never was — playing for AZ not withstanding.

        I think Norwich is going to be a little better than WB was for Sargent. Definitely better team and coach than their last stint in the EPL. Not top 10, but probably out of the relegation zone.

      • Exactly!!! No offense to Soto but he is noooooo Sargent. Josh had 7 goals last year in the 2nd best league in the world. Soto can’t even start in denmark or wherever he was loaned out too last year

    • @THE IMPERATIVE VOICE, Please don’t prematurely jump to conclusion yet. The English League Championship season is only ONE game in. How can you declare Horvath won’t start for Nottingham Forest (plus the Championship season opener ended up in defeat)? Please do NOT compare Soto with Sargent. What has Soto accomplished in his short, young career even though there’s no telling Soto may eventually have a glorious career?

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      • let’s see, how can i declare horvath will sit? not absolutely, of course, and the US fan in me wishes otherwise, but notts forest has a starter who keeps a GAA of around 1. they sold the backup. he replaced the backup. he may have been told he could compete for the job, but do the math. guess who started opening day? not him.

        soto was the leading US scorer in the youth world cup on the U20 team with weah etc. in 2019, had 17 goals in 24 games for hannover’s U19 team, had 7 goals in 12 games in holland 2d, and had a brace in 10′ for the NT last fall. he is basically sargent 2 years later.

        bringing back things to common sense here, i assume they threw around money, but all these kids are tenuously in the pool and someone smart would do what aaronson did and make more calculated choices. people joked about where pefok plays but he gets minutes and scores goals and look who’s making a run at the starter job? ditto Zardes the Donkey.

    • 1) Soto is not as good as Sergent and had work permit issues 2) Sargent works really hard off the ball and improved a lot last year even if the goals didn’t come 3) Sargent didn’t score goals in NL but save the US against Honduras and did plenty of things coach’s appreciate like press and get stuck in defensively 4) Sargent had himself set up for a tap in if Reyna made the easy square ball instead of shooting, if that had happened this wouldn’t be a discussion

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      • After Soto got to Norwich in Feb. he started 3 games for their U23 team then left for Olympic Qualifying. He never dressed the last two months after his return. We never heard why injury, attitude, etc…

    • Horvath will start the League Cup match Wednesday according to the manager at his press conference. Forest had a couple friendlies canceled according to the local story I read so Ethan really hasn’t had any chance to show his skill in competition.

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      • have you ever been in england? or watched USOC? early round cup games are B team games. it says the opposite of what you suggest. steffen played a lot of FA Cup. steffen was the league game backup.

    • Some times you have logical and well intentioned takes, but other times you just really miss the mark in my opinion. If your insinuation is that somehow Berhalter hoped to revive Zardes’ back into the first team, I say bullshit, and to be honest our forwards from the Nations League roster didn’t help themselves because they were just as ineffective as those from the GC roster. I think Pefok was the only ST to score a goal from a header, the other goals coming from our wide players or midfielders, so while it’s cute to assume Greg has something up his sleeve, I’d say your reaching and badly at that my friend!

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      • you’re actually not saying he didn’t hope to revive zardes, but that he had good reason to. you’re making my argument for me. the very act of rostering for GC one of your ensemble guys is giving him a chance. he then elevated him above nico and hoppe for that chance, as the second CF behind dike. he then turned nico and hoppe into wides. net effect is zardes, who has had a chance this cycle, blew it, and can play wing, got back in the middle. hoppe, who can play centrally, and had a header goal in the semi, got redefined as a wing at his expense. now, you could respond he was trying to “make” dike, true, but when dike faltered plan B was not nico or hoppe but instead zardes. so despite missing about 2 years, he got to skip ahead of more recently capped players back into a CF opportunity. i don’t think the coach has learned a thing at striker. after 2-1/2 years he’s probably going with pefok sargent zardes. that’s one player changed from nations league group play.

        so, yeah, i think he shapes the opportunities to benefit those he likes. just like i doubt many people would be capping yeuill or roldan or ream at this point. and while it is his prerogative, there is nothing about the form of these players that suggests they should be singled out or have fundamentally changed.

  9. Not sure if this is the best play for him. But probably not much of a choice. WB needed funds badly and Norwich first to pony up the £8m fee so off he goes. Going to be in a relegation battle all year and chances of them dropping next are highly probable. They have a brutal start to open the season – Pool, City, Leicester, Gunners. I hope they do well and he’s not looking at the same situation a year from now.

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