It's no secret that Norwich City have been playing terrible football this season. Really, really terrible football. They've been so poor of late that they went from a position of almost assured safety just over a month ago to all but relegated now, barring a miraculous performance tomorrow that overturns a huge goal differential gap between them and West Brom.
One would think under such circumstances that their squad would be terrible and bereft of talent, but as we discussed a few weeks ago there's actually some fair skill on the roster. With them going down, Premier League teams will be circling around like vultures, looking to pick out the best players to make their own. Liverpool will be no exception, and there's several names they should strongly consider looking at this summer.
Leroy Fer, 24, Central Midfield
If Liverpool want a versatile midfielder to add to their depth chart and improve the squad's quality all in one shot, they should look no further than Fer. The Dutch international can perform in a variety of midfield roles, with box-to-box energy, smooth passes, powerful shots, and firm tackles all ratting around in his toolbox.
Among midfielders likely to be available this summer, none would give Liverpool a more like-for-like backup (or even competition) to what Jordan Henderson gives the first team, as well as providing excellent depth throughout the rest of the central midfield areas. Fer will have plenty of suitors, but Liverpool can offer him Champions League football, good wages, and a note-perfect tactical fit. This is a match made in heaven by Our Good Lord Fowler, and makes too much sense not to go for.
Nathan Redmond, 20, Winger
Liverpool already have a stable full of young attackers loaded with potential, so why not add another who already has a full season of Premier League football under his belt? Redmond didn't quite live up to expectations this season, but he still showed why he's highly regarded as a future prospect.
Redmond has speed to burn and uses it well, though his product in the final third still needs some work outside of a fair shot from his stronger right foot. In terms of crossing and penetrating passes, he has a fair ways to go before he's up to par, but Brendan Rodgers and his staff have shown a gift for pulling the best out of their young attackers, so long as they're willing to put in the work.
John Ruddy, 27, Goalkeeper
Brad Jones has been a wonderful servant to Liverpool over the past few seasons, but with the Champions League beckoning, Liverpool need a better backup netminder. For that, they could do much worse than John Ruddy; for all the goals Norwich have shipped this season, were it not for some quality performances by Ruddy, they would have given up many more.
Ruddy might not be easy to get, though. At his age and quality, there will almost certainly be a handful of Premier League club looking to get their hands on him to start. A chance to play for a Champions League club doesn't come around very often for mid-tier goalkeepers, though, and he's even good enough to push Simon Mignolet a little bit. It'd be a win-win situation all around if Liverpool can get Ruddy's signature.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel, 25, Striker
A little less than a year ago, van Wolfswinkel was one of the most-heralded signings in England after joining Norwich from Sporting Lisbon. Now, he's at the end of probably the worst season of his career, with just one goal in 27 league and cup matches. Injuries and horrible service sapped any ability he had to put together any semblance of form.
Still, though, van Wolfswinkel has all the qualities you want in a striker, with a nose for the ball, for the goal, and for the right spots to help make the two meet. He's a little lacking in confidence at the moment, but he sings of the buy-low bet-high value buys that Liverpool have been making the past couple of years. Liverpool could use another striker, and van Wolswinkel could easily be worth the gamble with the quality of players he'll have around him.