Norwich City might be rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table but that has not stopped top nightclubs keeping a close watch on the goings-on at Carrow Road.
Despite their struggles on their return to the English top-flight, a range of Daniel Farke’s squad have impressed this season.
Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons are often linked with top-six clubs while Todd Cantwell has strutted his stuff on the radar of some of the very finest in England.
The Argentine moved to Norwich in the summer of 2017 in a deal believed to be in the region of £1.5million. He was earmarked by the recruiting team as the man to replace the departed James Maddison. The season before the switch into England, Buendía had impressed on loan with Cultural Leonesa from the Spanish second division. By no means a family name, the Canaries used the information available for them to profile him as a player who could become their chief founder. It was an inspired bit of scouting.
The feeling before the 2019/20 effort was that Norwich would head straight back to the Championship. That may come to pass but it is a near certainty Buendía will remain. Liverpool are the latest team to be connected with the former Argentina under-20 international.
As things stand, Norwich’s No.17 has helped 31 percent of the goals scored by Farke’s side in the Premier League this period. He has showcased his big-game character, also, by enrolling assists in games against Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Leicester City, and Spurs.
Buendía is yet to score this year but that is not what his game is built on. He’s a creative force and he is pulling the strings for the Canaries.
So far he’s averaged 0.4 assists per 90 against an expected assists average of 0.31. That goes some way to put to bed fears that the former stat is not sustainable. Buendía is not in a purple patch of form. We’re 21 games in the Premier League effort and he’s still posting these averages.
Unlike other playmakers, however, Buendía is much more than just a ball-player. The Norwich maestro looks to take responsibility. He’s attempting, on average, 5.76 dribbles per 90 and completing 66% of those. Wingers are often one-on-one players but Buendía isn’t an old-school broad player.
He drifts centrally, as exhibited in his warmth map below. He is moving into crowded areas, often the opposite of what players are instructed to do but due to his skill in tight spaces he’s able to bypass the resistance and this creates distance, and opportunities, for others.
The Norwich attacker also, impressively, completes 76% of his final third passes and his passing accuracy, overall, is 83%. For this kind of expressive player, those are impressive numbers.
The one time Spain under-19 international is heavily involved in the drama for a wide man. He is averaging near 52 moves per 90 and 3.5 of these are deemed to be key. Buendía is playing 32 per cent of his passes forward. For a little more context, Mohamed Salah, regarded as one of Liverpool’s most creative players, only plays 19% of his forward while Roberto Firmino directs 23% of his ahead of him.
Attackers do not usually play a third of their passes forward. Philippe Coutinho, a player Barcelona signed for more than £100million does, but few others do.
What makes Buendía so intriguing is how successful he’s all over the pitch. The shot-assist map above really highlights this. Though he begins on the right, he plays crucial passes in areas traditionally inhabited by a number ten. He’s also a set-piece threat but he’s largely influential in open-play situations.
Move Buendía to a more dominant side and his numbers would probably spike. Even for a fee of £30million, the 23-year-old could be a bargain in what is typically an overpriced market.