Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel has left Championship club Norwich City to join Ligue 1 club St Etienne on a season-long loan, according to the Daily Mail.
Van Wolfswinkel, who only joined Norwich last summer from Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon, was an unqualified disaster in the Premier League, managing a solitary goal – on his debut against Everton – in 24 appearances for the club, as they suffered the ignominy of being relegated from the Premier League.
Confirmation of exit
Neil Adams, speaking to Norwich City's official website had this to say on Van Wolfswinkel's departure: "I can't speak highly enough about how professional Ricky has been even though he had a difficult first season at the club. His attitude has been first class and this move represents an opportunity for him to play regularly and get back to scoring goals in the way he has done in the past. We wish him the best of luck."
Move to St Etienne
The move to St Etienne may be deemed as a fresh start for the 25-year-old, but what is clear is that the Dutchman’s career is going backwards at an alarming rate. Van Wolfswinkel began his career in the youth teams of VV Woudenberg and Vitesse Arnhem before making his debut for the latter in the 2007-2008 season against Sparta Rotterdam.
Following 33 appearances and eight goals for the Dutch club, Van Wolfswinkel was on the move to fellow Dutch team FC Utrecht, where in two years he scored 26 goals in 64 appearances. This alerted Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon to the prodigious Dutchman, and they duly snapped him up for £5.4 million.
He didn't disappoint, scoring an impressive 28 goals in 55 appearances. Next on Van Wolfswinkel’s list of clubs was Norwich City, where he subsequently disappointed, failing time after time in front of goal, much to the chagrin of the club's fans and management.
While not the deciding factor in the East Anglian club’s relegation, Van Wolfswinkel’s profligacy in front of goal was one clear factor in Norwich finding themselves in the Championship, instead of the Premier League’s elite.
Van Wolfswinkel’s bluntness in front of goal may also have cost him the chance of representing his native Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup, with his last two appearances for the national team coming in 2013, against Indonesia and Ukraine in 2010.
Hope for Van Wolfswinkel?
Despite the Dutchman’s highly-documented troubles in front of goal, were Van Wolfswinkel to return to the predatory finishing that he exhibited prior to his arrival at Carrow Road, he is sure to be welcomed to St Etienne – a team sure to be looking to better their impressive fourth place finish in Ligue 1 – with open arms.
Van Wolfswinkel is also sure to be eyeing up a return to the Dutch national team, now under the management of Guus Hiddink.