City’s desire to land Ola Toivonen looks unlikely to happen any time soon with the Swedish international continuing to distance himself from a move to East Anglia.
When questioned by the Swedish media about the move earlier this week, the 26 year-old admitted to knowing ‘very little’ about Norwich – hardly the words of a man itching to head to the Fine City – and has since declared a wish to bide his time before making a decision on his future.
While it does appear City have agreed a fee with PSV Eindhoven – reported to be in the region of £4.7M – all of the above suggests there are still several hurdles to be negotiated before Chris Goreham needs to fine tune his Swedish pronunciation.
The prospect of a ‘big unit’ with a top-notch strike-rate (59 goals in 125 appearances since moving to Holland) linking up with Ricky van Wolfswinkel is indeed an edifying one, but before we get too carried away it’s worth casting our minds back nine short seasons.
The arrival of one Mattias Jonson in the summer of 2004 looked, on paper at least, to be something of a Nigel Worthington coup. Armed with 50 Swedish full-caps and a one in three goal-scoring ratio from midfield, the Yellow Army had every reason to believe Jonson was going to provide an equivalent threat down the right flank that was already a given down the left.
But it never happened – never looked like happening in truth – and after just 30 appearances that failed to realise a single goal the likeable Swede returned to his homeland; Championship football clearly not on his ‘bucket list’.
So insignificant was Jonson’s contribution to City’s relegation battle that season, my only real recollection of him in canary yellow was his return to the pitch in the home game with Liverpool – swathed in bandages in a Terry Butcher style – following a clash of heads.
All a little unfair on Master Toivonen who, if he were to pitch up at Colney in early-July, I’m sure would restore our faith in Scandinavian visitors to East Anglia. Alas we don’t need to ‘mind read’ like Derren Brown to spot that said Swede is awaiting other offers to flood in before deciding if the colour of his club shirt is to match that of his country.
From an early stage it appeared PSV were preparing the ground for an auction – their apparent eagerness to make public City’s bid a clear invitation to others to throw their hats into the ring. Whether West Brom, Fulham and co will play ball remains to be seen, but it looks a given that by delaying his decision until July there will be other offers landing on the table for the Swede.
While a firm offer of £4.7M would suggest a determination on David McNally’s part to do the deal, a tweet yesterday from the Daily Mirror’s James Nursey reported that Celtic’s Gary Hooper still remains the number one target – the pursuit of Toivonen only be followed through in the event of Hooper going elsewhere.
A further curve-ball for this particular sub-plot came in the form of Celtic’s rejection of Hull City’s £4M bid for Hooper – some perceiving this to be the signal for McNally to pounce. Again, all conjecture but while this rumour lingers there remains an underlying feeling that the former Scunthorpe man will yet make his way to Norfolk.
Other names that continue to do the rounds are Nathan Redmond, Curtis Davies and Danny Simpson, none of which have come from official sources but all of whom appear a decent ‘fit’ one way or another; either courtesy of a link to Chris Hughton and/or available within the City budget.
Two more names that continue to pop up on the #NCFC timeline are Hal Robson-Kanu and Kenwyne Jones; both mentioned from more than one source, the latter being afforded the ‘Sky Sports understands’ treatment. Again, all conjecture and neither appears likely to materialise any time soon – if at all – with the summer transfer window not officially opening until 1 July.
One final name to throw into the mix is that of Elderson Echiejile (good luck with that one Chris…) who, as reported in the EDP, is a Nigerian left-back currently playing for Braga (City’s Portuguese opponents in their pre-season programme). The 25 year-old is apparently unwilling to extend his stay in Portugal, City reportedly one of several clubs to have indicated an interest.
In terms of Carrow Road outgoings, little to report so far other than a Twitter rumour doing the rounds that Jed Steer is on the radar of Aston Villa. Again, nothing concrete but given his first-team experience to date has been courtesy of Paul Lambert – a confirmed admirer – this one should probably be tagged ‘not beyond the realms of possibility’ for now.
Watch this space.
Jason S says
I’d say that Toivonen’s (desribed somewhere as Sweden’s answer to Joey Barton) city career is tainted before it’s even started. I for one would like to think that everyone in the shirt wants to be here and isn’t just biding their time until something better comes along. Naive I know, but compare this attitude to that of the Wolf, who has already won the crowd over and he hasn’t even arrived!
Steve Whelan says
Jason, you’ve said it all for me.
I agree, need someone in who actually wants to be here…that’s perhaps why we’re still hanging about for Hooper.
Lambert better not get hold of Steer though, he’s a natural replacement for Ruddy (as there’s a good chance we’ll get a decent lump sum for him over the next couple of seasons). Rudd is stuck in the middle of those two, and at and awkward age based on those two either side of him…go away Lambert, he’s a City boy all the way and won’t jump ship for the first failing club going like you. You’re going down, down, down!
Agree we need to hang on to Jed Steer, and Declan Rudd. Both are excellent goalkeepers, with massive potential. I believe Preston would like to take Rudd back on loan again next season, which would be huge benefit in gaining experience, and Steer could also get some loan experience. It would be silly to let them go cheaply, or for free.
Michael D says
The goalkeepers are an interesting subject. Whilst Mark Bunn’s arrival last year ended up being fully justified – though I would have had Ruddy back in goals by the time of the Villa home game – I did not understand the Camp loan spell. In the previous season, Lambert had shown faith in both Rudd and Steer as temp replacements when necessary. Camp played 1.5 games, if I recall. I’d have preferred to see Steer play those, both to keep him keen, and to see how he was coming on. I don’t believe that City will end up keeping both, with probably Rudd slowly on his way out. But I’d like to see more commitment to keeping Steer at least!
To be fair to Toivonen, he said he was looking for a team which didn’t play long balls as it didn’t suit his game and as the playing style at PSV had changed to that he feels less happy to be there. They changed head coach last season and that’s what has made him unhappy and a lot of the suporters, along with the threat from the head coach of training with the youth team if he didn’t extend his contract. A little man management issue there I think you’ll agree, probably went to the same school of charm as Mr Rhoder.
He also said he had not seen any EPL games this season so he didn’t know what style of play was employed at each club, so Stoke will not be high on his list of “clubs I’d like to play for”. Maybe Norwich will be, I hope so as the PSV guys I know all like him but can understand why he’s unsettled bearing in mind his treatment by the new head coach.
Russell S. says
It all comes down to money, money, money. The name of the game is whoever can entice the player with the most pound (or Euro) signs. Should we take a chance on him (Toivonen)? – very risky in my opinion.
I have a dream that we don’t go too far down the foreign striker route. This ‘Euro-vision’ will be our Waterloo. While it may be attractive to have a Fernando (Torres) on the cheap, we should be investing sensible (i.e. smaller) amounts on what British talent is out there (maybe CH should ring ring Carlton Cole?). Di Canio is rapidly draining the home flavor from Sunderland – let’s not do the same. Pardew’s French revolution at Newcastle was a shambles – voulez-vous that?
Let’s not get caught up in the ‘winner takes it all’ mentality which blights the modern English game and has led to the draining of the talent pool and the miserable showing of the England U-21’s. Promote from within – get the yoof on the bench. RVW + Holt/Becchio – we have plenty of fire power. We need more creativity in midfield (Scott Sinclair?) and more reliable cover at the back.
Damn, missed super trouper.
Gary Gowers says
Sterling effort Russ…
Was a tad disappointed that Ed’s reference to Alan Partridge (on Wednesday) didn’t naturally lead to a ‘knowing me, knowing you’ reference!
I made that nine by the way… but am no expert, so stand to be corrected.
Russell S. says
Nine it was – or ‘nio’ as Mr. Toivonen might say. Dancing queen was too much of a stretch.
Despite the levity, my point on too much reliance on non-UK talent in the PL was a deadly serious one. One day the PL bubble will burst and wouldn’t it be a proud thing to boast that we were the club brave enough to take a stand and not follow the herd?
A-Ha (they were Norwegian weren’t they?)
John C says
Thank you for the music references Russ S. Abba were always one of your favourite bands.
I’m not sure if Carlton Cole ‘The Dancing Queen’ of the Boleyn Ground, is mobile enough for us, too easily marked out of the game. If we keep Holty we won’t need to send out an SOS for a forward to help. Let’s just keep it simple. The ‘Mamma Mia’ approach of Di Canio is not for us.
Do you trust in CH?
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do
I remember a bigger contribution to the canary cause by Mattias Jonson. He was the player who annoyed Jay Bothroyd so much that he turned round and kicked him down by the Jarrold/River End corner flag, earning himself a red card.
Sadly we let 10 man Blackburn equalise (Paul ‘Bloody’ Dickov) right at the death.
Those 2 points would have kept us up that season.