Sam McCallum’s return to Coventry City has begged plenty of questions as to the thinking behind the surprise move for the 20-year-old.
After all, the young left-back/wing-back only joined Norwich City in January and now he’s come back to the Sky Blues on a season-long loan.
So what’s it all about, and what’s behind the thinking from the Canaries’ point of view?
Here Norwich City football writer for the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News, David Freezer, sheds light on the situation from a Carrow Road perspective.
“We haven’t seen a great deal of him because he’s only played one competitive game, against Luton in the League Cup, and he did OK that day,” he says.
“He didn’t do a lot wrong but it wasn’t like he forced his way into definitely starting against Huddersfield on the opening weekend.
“Norwich sold Jamal Lewis to Newcastle in the summer in a deal worth more than £15m and they brought in Xavi Quintilla from Villarreal on loan with a view to a permanent deal if they get promoted.
“He was playing in La Liga last season so he hasn’t come in to be a back-up left-back. He sees it as a way of getting into the Premier League, so I think the thing with Norwich is they have really thickened out the squad.
“They bought in 11 players this summer, 13 if you include Sam and another lad they signed in January, so they have brought in a lot of new talent and safeguarded themselves against losing players in case they were picked off by the bigger clubs following relegation.
“So if bids did come in they had this next generation of talent underneath who can be developed, but as things have worked out no-one is really paying the sort of money they would want for their top players and the only player to go out is Lewis, and so a few of those players have started to go out on loan.”
He added: “They clearly rate Sam. He’s only 20 and if they can get a deal where he’s guaranteed to play regularly in the Championship then, as things stand, they seem to think they have enough cover should anything happen to Quintilla.
“The interesting question is who will be back-up to him. They have brought in Bali Mumba from Sunderland who is back-up right-back at the moment but with Daniel Farke, he doesn’t really stress out whether you have a right footed player on the left or vice versa. He’s the same with wingers, he thinks a full-back should be able to do a job on either side.
“It’s happened with Max Aarons who has often played as a left wing-back when they’ve switched to three at the back. They also have Ben Gibson on loan from Burnley and he played at left-back earlier in his career.
“Ben Godfrey has played at left-back for the first team as well as others, and while it feels as if they are putting all their eggs in one basket in Quintilla, from what we hear they think they have got sufficient cover rather than having both Mumba and McCallum sat there and maybe seeing their development stunted.
“So they have taken the decision that one of them is enough to cover.
“Sam is in a bit of a flow with Coventry, having been playing regularly for them last season, while Mumba is more of a project. He broke in as a midfielder at Sunderland but they were going through such a turbulent time that he fell out of favour and into the U-23s where they converted him into a full-back.
“With the way loan deals work, if they need Sam back in January they can take him back. I don’t think it was an easy decision for them but I think they are desperate to ensure Sam’s development isn’t held up at this stage.
“There might be a little bit of disappointment from Sam’s point of view but I imagine Coventry is a pretty good option for him because he’s almost returning home.”
He added: “Norwich have always had a decent youth product rate and often send them out on loan to get game time and experience. Josh Murphy first impressed out at MK Dons, Ben Godfrey had a really good spell at Shrewsbury in League One, James Maddison went to Aberdeen and that toughened him up.
“They have 15 players out on loan at the moment and they really do place a lot of importance on the Academy, and as a self funded club that’s the route they have gone down to produce their own.
“Stuart Webber, their sporting director, often uses the phrase, “invest in the root and not the fruit,” so they are always making sure there’s a conveyorbelt of talent coming through.
“And they always get these lads on long contracts as well, with Sam on a deal until 2024 I think, so this certainly isn’t a case of getting rid of McCallum in any way.
“It’s more that they want to make sure he keeps developing.”