So the Wolf is here at last.
It seems an age since the club’s official website announced the deal (was actually on 23 March) and an awful lot of water has passed under Carrow Bridge since then. But a day that felt – and occasionally looked – as if it would never happen has finally arrived.
The fact that Ricky van Wolfswinkel is doing an excellent impression of someone who actually wants to be here is indeed a bonus, with the young Dutchman making all the right noises when describing his short and medium term hopes and dreams.
In fairness, since the day his Canary die was cast he’s played a blinder; his #ncfc tweeting during the pivotal 4-0 win over West Brom confirming his thoughts had already started turning to his new life in the English Premier League back in May.
In conversation with BBC Radio Norfolk, van Wolfswinkel explained that when the chance of a move to Norwich City (or perhaps more significantly to the Premier League) arose he was offered some sound advice by a Dutch legend of yesteryear; none other in fact than Johan Neeskens.
For those too young to remember, Neekens was part of the most famous Dutch side of them all – the one that narrowly lost to West Germany in the 1974 World Cup Final when he opened the scoring with a first-minute penalty.
But even more significantly than that… Neeskens is the father of Master van Wolfswinkel’s girlfriend. Throw into the mix the fact he’s managed RvW on a few occasions in his capacity as Holland ‘B’ manager and there you have someone whose thoughts are certainly worth listening to.
Thankfully for City the voice of experience prevailed and when ‘father-in-law’ said “do it”, van Wolfswinkel did just that; David McNally, as always, in the right place at the right time, never far from the gift horse.
While the tag of being City’s most expensive signing (even if the fee was officially ‘undisclosed’) could be perceived by some as a burden, there was certainly nothing to suggest this is even on the Dutchman’s radar. Blessed with an air of confidence that accompanies many of his compatriots (Robben and van Persie two prime examples) we look to have acquired ourselves a striker on a mission.
While typically stating City as his first priority, there is no doubting he also has Brazil 2014 in his sights. As he quite rightly stated, the best way to earn his ticket to Rio is to bang in some Premier League goals.
If it works out it’s a classic win/win, and nothing emerged from Carrow Road today to suggest this can’t happen.
For what it’s worth I’ve already been proved wrong; the pessimist in me was 99% certain that RvW would arrive in the city on crutches virtue of a freak summer diving accident.
The other big news of the day was that City now appear to be in pole position to sign Birmingham City’s Nathan Redmond; this coming less than 24 hours after the Sunday papers had suggested Everton – despite not having had a bid accepted – were the preferred destination of the England Under-21 international. The same papers even suggested that Norwich had slipped down to third in Redmond’s pecking order, with Swansea his fall-back option if the Everton bid failed to materialise.
When questioned about the Redmond story – the Birmingham Mail suggesting a deal is imminent – Chris Hughton stopped short of confirming it, but did confess that he is a player City are “very very interested in”. In Hughton terms I’d say that is akin to nudge and a wink but, as always, until the ‘press conference’ signs come out again nothing can be taken for granted.
Interestingly, on a day when Cardiff had a £8million offer for Thomas Ince accepted by Blackpool, the quoted ‘£2million rising to £3.2million’ for Redmond looks a decent bit of business if it comes off.
All of which leaves Ola Toivenon still languishing sorrowfully on his sunbed, staring wistfully at his mobile phone as it refuses to ring and flash up ‘Agent’. The phone call that – if it ever comes – will spare him the choice of a season in PSV Reserves or, heaven forbid, a season of Premier League football with those little known minnows from the farmlands of East Anglia.
Let’s hope that phone rings before Wednesday because it’s uncomfortable seeing any grown man cry, let alone strapping 6ft 2in Swedish international footballers.
In fairness to Hughton, he did confess that Toivenon is one “we have shown interest in”, although, in a rather less bullish manner than shown when discussing Redmond, he did add that “he is one of a few”.
Although this one seems a way off, there is a part of me that would still like to see the Swede pitch up at Carrow Road, if only to see first-hand if he’d eventually ‘buy in’ to a city and club that he currently seems reluctant to admit even exists.
But, joking aside, with or without Toivenon there certainly look to be more on their way.
Who next? … Hooper, Fer, Livermore?
Rick Lime says
There was a Dutch striker called Ricky,
Whose skills on a ball were quite tricky,
With the pace of Usain Bolt,
A perfect foil for Grant Holt,
One looks like a model, the other a brickie.
Russell S. says
Here’s hoping RVW is a Dutch master in the same vein as Neeskens. Ah – the Dutch side of the early 70s are still probably my favourite team of all time.
He joins a small and not overly illustrious group of orange men to pull on the yellow and green: van Wijk (82-86), de Waard (00-01) and Derveld (00-01)..any other offers?
I’m surprised we haven’t been dipping into the Belgian market – current generation is as exciting as any in Europe (Germans excepted).