Gutierrez has a big reputation to justify at Norwich

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Chris Hughton talks to Jonas Gutierrez during a Newcastle training session.GettyImagesChris Hughton talks to Jonas Gutierrez during a Newcastle training session.

Chris Hughton, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi can't all be wrong about Jonas Gutierrez -- Norwich City's newest recruit.

The Argentine international appears to be surplus to requirements at Newcastle after agreeing to re-join his former Magpies' mentor Hughton at Carrow Road, on loan until the end of the Premier League season. Gutierrez's only start for Alan Pardew this campaign came in an opening day 4-0 hammering at Manchester City, but Hughton is convinced Gutierrez still has plenty to offer.

The 30-year-old's arrival may not immediately ease growing fears among the Norwich supporters that they can extricate themselves from another epic survival battle, but there is no doubting Gutierrez's pedigree.

- Norwich confirm Gutierrez loan deal

His one-time international boss Maradona felt he was an essential component of Argentina's ultimately failed quest for World Cup glory back in 2010. The man who inherited Maradona's crown as a global footballing icon, Messi, was similarly effusive; the Barcelona great labelling his countrymen one of the Premier League's best when he first arrived from Real Mallorca.

Gutierrez may never have quite lived up to the billing but "Spiderman's" experience and versatility could prove valuable commodities for the Canaries. Hughton was quick to point out the midfielder will take little time to adjust to his new surroundings after spending the past five years on Tyneside.

Given the frenetic nature of the January horse-trading and the advanced stage of the Premier League season it is imperative any new face offers an immediate impact. City's club-record summer signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel has struggled with that acclimatisation process following his arrival from Portugal.

Gutierrez can also operate across midfield and at full-back. Norwich's inconsistencies highlight an alarming lack of depth at Hughton's disposal in an area of his squad savaged by injury. Elliott Bennett has not featured since the opening day draw against Everton after damaging knee ligaments. Alex Tettey and Anthony Pilkington have both been absent for weeks and only returned to training in recent days while Scottish international Robert Snodgrass and the influential Jonny Howson have also had their periods of inactivity. Howson has not played since mid-December and Hughton is still unable to offer an optimistic prognosis on when his troublesome back injury will settle down.

City badly needed midfield reinforcements and Gutierrez is an astute opening statement from the club in the transfer window. The Argentine has alluded to the frustrations he felt at St James' Park this season and the mental torment of swapping regular involvement for a peripheral role.

Gutierrez arrives in Norfolk with plenty to prove to himself and not just sceptical Norwich fans who question the wisdom of signing a player who has kicked his heels for months. He needs to re-ignite a career that had stalled and the offer from a man under whom he flourished was too tempting to ignore. Now Gutierrez must repay Hughton's faith.


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