Sporting Lisbon confirm they are in talks with Norwich City over striker Van Wolfswinkel


wolfswinkel - Credit: Archant

Norwich City are in talks with Sporting Lisbon over the proposed signing of highly-rated striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel, it has been confirmed.

The Canaries refused to comment on reports in Portugal that they had clinched an £8.5m (10m euros) deal for the capture of the 24-year-old Dutchman.

But Sporting issued a statement of their own, stating that negotiations were under way with Carrow Road.

Newspapers in Portugal claimed City had agreed a deal in London on Wednesday to sign Van Wolfswinkel when the transfer window opens in the summer.

And the statement, published on Portuguese stock market regulator CMVM's website, read: 'Sporting are in talks with Norwich regarding the transfer of Ricky van Wolfswinkel.'

Sporting is a listed company but the 18-time Primeira Liga champions, struggling in 10th place in the table, are reported to be in big financial trouble – with debts of 260m euros.

It is understood the transfer will allow Godinho Lopes, president of the club, to pay two months' worth of backdated wages to its players and coaching staff.

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If the move goes through, Van Wolswinkel would become a new club record signing for Norwich.

City played a straight bat to reports of the deal last night when a club spokesman said: 'There is no comment at this stage. We don't comment on speculation and when there is anything to announce to our fans we will do it through the usual channels.'

Former Vitesse Arnhem and Utrecht striker Van Wolfswinkel, born in Woudenberg, joined Sporting in 2011 for 5.4m euros – about £4.6m – on a deal set to run until 2016.

City boss Chris Hughton was first interested in the player in the January transfer window. At the time, reports in Portugal claimed the Canaries offered seven millions euros, with a potential further three million based on goals scored.

More than once, Hughton has spoken of getting better value for money on the Continent.

The 6ft 1in Van Wolfswinkel has scored 13 goals for Sporting this season to add to the 25 he scored in 2011-12 after his move from Utrecht.

The player's agent, Louis Laros, based in Holland, could not be contacted last night.

But earlier in the season he said: 'There is big interest in Ricky from England. Ricky is like any player in that he is ambitious and the Premier League is a fantastic place.'

Sporting are understood to have demanded at least 10 million euros for Van Wolfswinkel because of a complicated financial arrangement whereby they sold the Dutchman 65 per cent of their 'economic rights' for a total of about 3.5 million euros, and would therefore receive only 35 per cent of any transfer fee if he moves on.

News of the move for Van Wolfswinkel followed reports that City are keen to sign Aston Villa's Andreas Weimann, whose talks about a new deal have stalled.

The 21-year-old Austrian forward has just over a year left on his contract and has scored 11 goals this season, including two in Villa's 4-1 Capital One Cup victory at Carrow Road in December.