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.