Where next for Norwich City’s Ricky van Wolfswinkel?

Ricky van Wolfswinkel endured a mixed season on loan at St Etienne.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel endured a mixed season on loan at St Etienne. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Ricky van Wolfswinkel looks likely to be consigned to a waiting game before discovering his Norwich City future.

The Canaries' club-record signing scored five goals in 28 Ligue 1 appearances during his season-long loan at St Etienne to leave the Greens unsure on whether to activate the striker's reported buy-out clause of £4.3million.

And now it appears much rests on whether the French outfit opt to cash in on in-demand hitman Max Gradel this summer before RvW will realise where the next chapter of his career will be written.

French football expert Julien Laurens said: 'He still has people at the club who really like him. He's really good in the dressing room. The problem is the buy-out is quite high for a player who has not really done enough this season.

'St Etienne don't have massive resources either. They might end up selling (Max) Gradel so they'll have to invest some of that on a striker – which could help Ricky stay – although they may look elsewhere – which I think he would like to.'

The Dutchman plundered a huge 45 goals in 87 appearances for Sporting Lisbon before Norwich shelled out £8.5m for his services in July 2013. He netted on his debut but that was the only time the hitman got on the scoresheet during a disastrous first term in England.

A temporary move across the Channel was sanctioned in the summer, and although it appeared the 26-year-old had found his feet with a decent run of goalscoring form in the winter, his campaign petered out.

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Laurens added: 'He's struggled really since January/February time. He missed his big chance when Max Gradel went to the African Nations,' added the BT Sport pundit.

'Ricky found it hard to score and got a little injury. Gradel then came back and scored 12 in his last 12. Considering his form, and the fact St Etienne only like to play one up front, it was hard for Ricky to get back in the team.

'If Norwich don't want him back St Etienne might be interested in another loan.

'He's an interesting player but in the last six months he just hasn't done enough to force a transfer.'