Van Wolfswinkel leaves Norwich City for good to go back home
- Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd
Rick van Wolfswinkel's unhappy stay at Norwich City finally drew to a close on Thursday evening when he returned to his Dutch homeland on a permanent basis.
The 27-year-old striker left Canaries to rejoin Vitesse Arnhem, his first professional club, for an undisclosed fee after scoring just twice in 28 appearances for City over the course of three years.
Earlier in the day the Holland international had been strongly linked with a loan switch to Norwich's Championship rivals Birmingham, but that proved to be a red herring, with van Wolfswinkel opting instead to try his luck back in the Dutch top flight, after failing to make an impression at the highest level in England - and then in loan spells in France and Spain.
The Holland international, who was in the last year of a big money contract at Carrow Road, joined the Canaries in the summer of 2013 from Sporting Lisbon for a club record fee thought to be in the region of £8.5m.
The move prompted a generally positive reaction from supporters, with van Wolkswinkel having scored 28 goals in 55 appearance for the Portuguese side, and the exciement only increased when he marked his competitive debut with a superb headed goal to help the Chis Hughton's side to a 2-2 draw with Everton at Carrow Road.
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But that, essentially, was 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.
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He started the next season for City under Alex 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 RVW 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 return to Colney.
He was back for pre-season with Norwich, featuring in warm-up games, but has now left for good for a club he first represented between 2008 and 2009, with a statement on City's official website reading; 'Norwich City can confirm striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel has completed a transfer to Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem for an undisclosed fee, subject to the approval of the relevant footballing authorities.
The Club would like to wish Ricky all the best with his future career.'