The first signing through the door is always an important one used by clubs to make statements about their desired direction of travel. 

As Norwich City unveiled Panama international defender Jose Cordoba, it serves as further evidence that their new era is gathering pace after confirmation of Johannes Hoff Thorup's arrival as head coach last week. 

Rewind 12 months, City had already unveiled Ashley Barnes as their first summer signing. It was used to help message the will to head down a more experienced path with their recruitment. The intention is somewhat contrasting this time around.

Go back one year further and the first permanent addition was Gabriel Sara as Norwich shared their desire to add some South American flavour to Dean Smith's squad. In 2018, City unveiled a certain Argentine called Emi Buendia as Daniel Farke's first summer signing ahead of his second campaign in charge. 

The point is clear - it is often, but not always, seen as a chance to set the tone with your desired project. That is the case with Cordoba and City this summer - his arrival helps add fuel to the feeling of change that has engulfed the club since that crushing play-off defeat to Leeds. 

Norwich wanted to be quick off the mark. Since they lost to Birmingham on the final day of the regular Championship season, they've had a two-legged play-off campaign, a managerial change, a fresh appointment and now made their first signing. The Blues, on the other hand, are yet to source a replacement for Tony Mowbray. 

It's been a rapid turning of the page. There is a freshness about the place. Hangovers, at this stage, seem to have disappeared. 

The pursuit for Cordoba has not been a simple one. There was a stage when even the key players inside Colney thought Cordoba pitching up at Ibrox was an inevitability. 

The Pink Un: Ashley Barnes was Norwich City's first arrival last summer.Ashley Barnes was Norwich City's first arrival last summer. (Image: Matt Wilkinson/Focus Images Ltd)

But they kept plugging away and knocking at the door. Reports in Bulgaria suggested Cordoba favoured English football all along, but there was a wariness to get carried away even once the deal had swung in their favour. 

Getting the defender and his representatives to Colney was a watershed moment. Face to face talks with Thorup and Knapper were important. It was the key point at which the pendulum shifted away from Glasgow and towards City. That's before any discussion about interest from France and Belgium for his services. 

The general feeling as late as last week was that if City landed Cordoba, they would have done well. The fact they have been willing to pay a transfer fee for his services speaks to their level of interest in acquiring him. It will be a rarity for City this summer, certainly prior to any major sales. 

As Knapper highlighted in his official club quotes, Cordoba has been tracked for an extensive period of time. His data points are strong, even though they can be hard to rely on with defenders owing to the amount of work off the ball that is hard to record through metrics. 

There is a rawness, inevitably. It will take time. But left-footed central defenders are a much-sought-after commodity in the modern game, and if you can develop a talented one, the rewards, both from a football perspective and financially, are enormous. 

Such is Norwich's willingness to bring him to Carrow Road that they have utilised one of their post-Brexit ESC (Elite Significant Contribution) slots, which have been opened up to sides in the Premier League and the EFL, enabling them to sign up four players who wouldn't ordinarily qualify for a work permit based on the new regulations. 

The Pink Un: Sporting director Ben Knapper is leading Norwich City's recruitment drive this summer. Sporting director Ben Knapper is leading Norwich City's recruitment drive this summer. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Cordoba's talents have been deemed sufficient enough to warrant the usage of one of those limited and precious slots. Norwich will be hoping to use more of them in the months and windows ahead. 

Norwich have also followed Brighton in using positional scouts to identify talent in key areas - Cordoba has been monitored extensively and has interested them for a prolonged period of time. It is a signing they feel will help convert Thorup's ideology into a reality. 

Every project needs those players who help kickstart the journey, and Cordoba's arrival feels very much in that mould. It helps to unlock that desired style of play. 

Cordoba will be City's starting choice for the left side of defence. He was their first choice to succeed the departing Ben Gibson and is economically more viable in the long term. 

His ability on the ball is something that City hope will translate well to Thorup's desire to implement a structurally strong, possession-based playing style that will require their defensive options to be not just comfortable with the ball but capable of progressing it. 

Neither Norwich nor Cordoba are under any illusions of the refining that needs to be done to his game - but the raw materials are there. Now, it's about whether Thorup, his coaching team and City more broadly can make the most of them. 

Cordoba's arrival has set the tone for the new project: younger, more possession-based, and hopefully more aligned between strategy and reality. That is why it has created so much excitement from City supporters who won't have watched him kick a ball in anger in Bulgaria. 

There will have to be patience. Panama's involvement in the Copa America will go on until July 2 at the earliest, with Cordoba likely to be granted a period of rest before joining his new club for pre-season. 

The Pink Un: Jose Cordoba is the first signing of the Johannes Hoff Thorup era.Jose Cordoba is the first signing of the Johannes Hoff Thorup era. (Image: Matt Usher/Norwich City FC)

But the pace that City have sought to get this over the line and the intensity with which they've chased the deal shows how much they wanted the 23-year-old to form part of their project. 

Cordoba is the first of many faces through the door this summer - but it does feel like a statement of intent about how Knapper and Thorup want to shape this new era at Carrow Road. 

There is no magic formula to whether new additions succeed. But so much of this early summer period has been about intent - and Cordoba's arrival is another sign of the direction of travel Norwich are heading in.