Newly-promoted Norwich City kick-started their January spending spree with the £2.2m signing of Portugal right-back Ivo Pinto from Dinamo Zagreb earlier this month.
But how much do you know about the Canaries’ latest addition? Shoot takes a closer look at Alex Neil’s brand new full-back…
Why have Norwich City bought him?
To essentially boost the Canaries’ bid to preserve their English top-flight status for a second successive season. Following the dipped form of fellow right-back Steven Whittaker at Carrow Road throughout this campaign, manager Alex Neil has regularly shifted club captain Russell Martin into the full-back role, giving way for Sébastien Bassong and Ryan Bennett to become the new centre-half pairing. But Norwich have now got their hands on an impressive defender who can fill that void, therefore allowing skipper Martin to return to his most influential role. Pinto; who turned 26-years-old the day after signing for the Premier League outfit, joined Dinamo Zagreb back in July 2013, going on to make 112 appearances in all competitions to help the Croatian giants lift the MAXtv Prva Liga title during back-to-back campaigns (2013/14 and 2014/15). Not only was Pinto highly-regarded as one of the best full-backs within Croatian football, the former Portugal Under-21 international also demonstrated his ability on the European stage this term in the UEFA Champions League, starring against Premier League table toppers Arsenal twice and Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. The former FC Porto youth graduate is solid defensively, he possesses quick feet and is powerful down the right-flank when he joins in on the attack.
Will he be a good signing?
Despite not being a household name in English football; arguably not in European football neither, that does not mean Pinto is not a marquee signing for Norwich. The defender has been on the fringes of the Portugal senior squad, with national team coach Fernando Santos calling up the new Canaries addition during his first selection process back in October 2014 ahead of a friendly match against France and their UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against Denmark. Despite not yet making his full international debut, Pinto regularly represented his nation during his youth career from the Under-16 ranks through to the Under-21s. Pinto himself will be hoping his move to the Premier League this January can help spur him on to gatecrash his country’s squad for Euro 2016 this summer. Having reportedly fought off the likes of Anderlecht and Stuttgart for his signature, the full-back’s price tag of just £2.2m could be looked upon as a bargain come May seeing as Pinto has already pitted his luck against the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandowksi in the Champions League this term. Following his debut season with Zagreb; Pinto earned many plaudits with website Tribina.hr voting him as the best right-back in the league, whilst the only sporting newspaper in Croatia, the Sportske Novosti, nominated the Portuguese star as one of the best five foreigners playing in the country. All the signs point towards a shrewd piece of business by Canaries boss Neil; who will be hoping Pinto’s ambition to gatecrash Euro 2016 at the end of the season will see him play a crucial role in Norwich’s aim to stave off relegation in their remaining 16 league games.