March 9 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen was surprised to see compatriot Ricky van Wolfswinkel join Norwich City in the summer - and revealed he had once been on Manchester United’s radar.
The 24-year-old became the Canaries’ record signing when he moved to Carrow Road from Sporting Lisbon, but has endured an injury-hit start to his career in English football.
Van Wolfswinkel still only has one Norwich goal to his name, but is in contention to face Fulham today after coming off the bench in Saturday’s goalless draw at Sunderland following almost two months out with a toe injury.
Meulensteen knows a lot about the Holland striker and feels the Canaries pulled off of a coup when they secured his services.
When asked if he was surprised when Van Wolfswinkel joined Norwich, Meulensteen said: “I was, to be fairly honest. Obviously I know him and know the Dutch league very well and he has an eye for goal and is really good in and around the box and is a quick and clinical finisher - he showed that at Sporting Lisbon.
“I thought at some point he would be heading for the Barclays Premier League or the Bundesliga, but it was a bit of a surprise. My first thought was that Norwich had done well there but it shows again how keen players are to play in the Premier League.”
Meulensteen, who spent a total of 11 years as a coach at Manchester United before leaving the club following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, admitted Van Wolfswinkel had caught the attentionat Old Trafford.
“We had definitely discussed him,” said the Dutchman, who has overseen one win in four games since taking charge at Fulham.
“I don’t think it was ever to the stage that we needed to do something as we obviously had fantastic strikers at the club and, at a club like Manchester United where you have got top, top strikers, when you bring someone in he needs to be better than you have already got.”
n Alan Curbishley has been appointed first-team technical director at Fulham as he returns to club football more than five years after leaving West Ham.