Norwich announced the signing of Netherlands international striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel late last week. He will become a Norwich player at the end of the current season and it could be a great coup after a year of sensible consolidation.
The Canaries had a superb 2011/2012 season and surprised many with their quick return to the Premier League. ‘Second Season Syndrome’ was constantly mentioned, but Chris Hughton has done a solid job preventing Norwich from being pulled into relegation trouble and building upon Paul Lambert’s work. There has been a trend of signing players from the Championship who have supplied admiral work ethic, but they require enough quality to move up to the next level of the Premier League.
However after the announcement of van Wolfswinkel arriving in the summer, next season could be extremely exciting for Norwich fans. He had a prolific first season in Portugal for Sporting Lisbon with 23 goals in 39 games and has continued with another strong campaign. A career record of 82 goals in 188 games is an impressive return for a 24 year old. Considering Norwich’s main striking threat is currently Grant Holt, van Wolfswinkel is a huge upgrade and only paying a reported fee of £8.5m is a bargain for a proven goal scorer with great potential.
The one issue which could hinder his success in the Premier League is his physical build. He is just over 6 feet tall but weighs a slight 150 pounds, making his physicality fairly limited. It is often a cliché in the English media that smaller players are a risk, but considering a lot of Norwich’s attacks come from crosses from Snodgrass, he may find himself under a lot of pressure from no nonsense defenders and struggle to handle it. According to European football writer Andy Brassell, “He's really built up the physical side of his game”, so if he continues to improve this side of his game then it may not be an issue when he makes his debut in August.
I’m sure Norwich are thrilled with their new signing and if he succeeds we could see the Canaries begin to challenge for higher positions in the Premier League in the near future.
Andy Brassell quote from BBC Sport website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21877134
van Wolfswinkel’s Sporting Lisbon record from same BBC article
van Wolfswinkel’s career record from Guardian website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/mar/23/norwich-city-ricky-van-wolfswinkel
van Wolfswinkel’s weight and height from Goal.com: http://www.goal.com/en/people/netherlands/23641/ricky-van-wolfswinkel