This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
Norwich City arrived in the Premier League this season as the reigning Championship title-holders, having come out on top in a fierce promotion fight with Sheffield United and Leeds United. But rather than also hitting the transfer market looking for wholesale changes as Aston Villa did following their play-off success, Canaries Sporting Director Stuart Webber kept things calm this summer with only a handful of new faces arriving at Carrow Road.
Plenty of names were linked with moves to the Norfolk outfit, including SV Zulte Waregem defender Marco Burki, who was said to be a target of Norwich, Nottingham Forest, Serie A side Torino and La Liga outfit Leganes, with the Spanish outfit at the front of the queue back in May, according to Belgian publication Het Laatste Nieuws (via the Nottingham Post).
Zulte Waregem were reluctant to lose the 26-year-old centre-back, though, and slapped an €800,000 (£719k) asking price on the younger brother of Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki, who ultimately remained at the Regenboogstadion.
Webber may now regret not paying the fee for Burki after watching Daniel Farke struggle in the top-flight, with injuries ripping through his ranks at Carrow Road (Pink Un), to the point on-loan midfielder Ibrahim Amadou had to be played as a centre-half against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Canaries supporters were far from impressed with the Sevilla-owned man’s efforts alongside Ben Godfrey, while Newcastle United great Alan Shearer tore into Norwich’s backline on Match of the Day (via Pink Un) when he said: “Villa set traps for Norwich to invite them to play out and that’s exactly what they did [for the second goal].
“Look at the men getting in the box once they had won the ball, it was a matter of getting the ball in the box, which they did, a lovely ball and [Wesley] gets his second, should have his hat-trick but missed the penalty.
“Again Norwich trying to play out, they didn’t have any variation in their game and Villa punished them for that. [Conor] Hourihane runs in behind and again they get the men forward to get the penalty.”
It was certainly not Amadou’s afternoon against a side that spent more than £130m on transfers this summer, as his defensive midfielder instincts did not carry over into being a centre-back option for Farke, who watched on almost helplessly as his side were picked apart by Dean Smith’s Villa.
Things could have been very different had they signed a natural centre-back in the summer, though, and at just £719k, Burki would have been a no-brainer having impressed scouts from around Europe with his displays in Belgium last season.
Burki has maintained his regular spot in the Zulte Waregem line-up this term, as well, with seven, 90-minute appearances in the Jupiler Pro League, in which he helped to three clean sheets including one against KRC Genk (WhoScored).
The 26-year-old’s efforts last term also saw his market value skyrocket beyond what his side were asking for, as TransferMarkt considered Burki to be worth £1.35million a year after he moved to the Regenboogstadion as a free agent after leaving academy side BSC Young Boys in 2018.
Norwich fans, did Weber make a mistake not signing a central defender in the summer? Let us know in the comments below…
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