This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Four years ago this week, Robbie Brady enjoyed probably the finest moment of his footballing career when his late header gave Republic of Ireland a 1-0 win over Italy which took them to the knockout stage of Euro 2016.
It came just a few weeks after he suffered relegation with Norwich, his second year in a row being hit with that fate as he was also in the Hull City team that dropped out of the Premier League in 2015. The Irishman, a product of Manchester United’s academy who made just one senior appearance for the Red Devils, had been a £7m signing from the Tigers a couple of months after their top-flight demise.
Brady alternated between left-back and left midfield during his first season at Carrow Road, scoring three goals and setting up another two as the Canaries made an immediate return to the Championship under Alex Neil. Buoyed by his Euro 2016 heroics, he got off to a strong start to the following campaign, with four goals and five assists in 23 league games for Norwich.
With the Canaries only 10th in the second tier in January 2017, though, the Irishman was tempted back to the Premier League by Burnley, where his international colleagues Jeff Hendrick and Stephen Ward were playing. He became the Clarets’ then-record signing on deadline day, swapping East Anglia for Lancashire in a £13m deal (as per The Guardian), recouping nearly twice the amount Norwich paid for him.
It may have seemed like a very risky move by the Carrow Road club at the time to let him go but it has since proven to be a case of them getting the timing exactly right. Brady has never managed to carve out a regular place in Sean Dyche’s first XI at Turf Moor, with 16 his highest number of league appearances in any of his three-and-a-half seasons for Burnley as long-term injuries have impeded his progress. So far this season, he has started just five league games and played 402 top-flight minutes (as per WhoScored).
Were Norwich right to sell Robbie Brady when they did?
He has managed only five goals in 63 games for the Clarets, just one more than he scored in his final half-season at Norwich. Nor has been able to recapture the heights of Euro 2016 at international level – his only Ireland goals since that tournament have come in a friendly against Oman and a European qualifier against lowly Gibraltar (as per TransferMarkt).
Now 28, Brady should be at the peak of his career, but his market valuation is now a mere £4.32m (as per TransferMarkt), just under a third of what the Clarets paid for him back in 2017. Hindsight is a wonderful judge, of course, but with each passing year, Norwich’s wisdom in taking £13m for the 46-cap international has proven to be a clever one.
Norwich fans, did the club sell Brady at the right time? Did you question the move at the time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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