Ex-Norwich City striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel seals Vitesse Arnhem move
- Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd
Ricky van Wolfswinkel's wretched time at Norwich City has finally ended after sealing a return to Holland with Vitesse Arnhem.
The 27-year-old has signed a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee after a series of loan stints during his spell at Norwich, following his club-record signing from Sporting Lisbon in 2013.
Van Wolfswinkel scored just twice in 28 appearances, one of those on his senior debut for the club in an opening day 2-2 Premier League draw against Everton in 2013, and was loaned out to Saint Etienne and Real Betis in the last two seasons having flopped in Norfolk. His last Norwich appearance came when he scored in a 2-1 League Cup win at Rotherham in August 2015.
The Dutch international was touted with a possible move to Championship rivals Birmingham City in recent days after a bit-part role under Alex Neil and was set to be well down the pecking order again at Carrow Road this coming campaign after returning from his latest loan stint in Spain.
City confirmed the permanent transfer, subject to the relevant paperwork, on Thursday evening which sees van Wolfswinkel return to his first club after coming through the Vitesse academy before a prolific spell at FC Utrecht earned him a move to Portugal.
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'Vitesse is the club of my youth,' he told his new club's official site. 'I also debuted in professional football on behalf of Vitesse and something you never forget. After several foreign adventures I look forward to returning to the Dutch fields. I hope to find my niche and want to play well and as many goals and assists are important for Vitesse.'
Van Wolfswinkel had been allocated the number 13 shirt for his new club.
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The frontman arrived in Norfolk to a huge fanfare in 2013 after scoring 28 goals in 55 appearance for Sporting, but his debut header against the Toffes was essentially as good as it got for a man who went from potential cult hero to zero over the course of a disappointing campaign that failed to produce another goal - and saw him reduced to the role of back-up striker.
When it became clear he was not in new manager Neil Adams' plans as the 2014/5 season approached the frontman was allowed to join French outfit St Etienne on loan for the entire campaign, with a the possibility for a permanent move at the end of it if things worked out well. But he managed only five gioals in 28 games and found himself back in Norfolk, with no big money offer forthcoming.
He started the next season for City under Neil, making what proved to be his final competitive appearance on August 15 last year when he found the net in a 2-1 Capital One Cup win at Rotherham - but he was soon off on loan again, this time to Spanish top flight outside Real Betis.
The move suited both parties, with the Canaries saving money on the player's wages and van Wolfswinkel himself getting a chance to play in one of the best leagues in the world. But, yet again, it didn't really work out, with just one goal in 17 games prompting another brief summer return to Colney.