An in-depth look at the Dutch striker's careerTHE name ‘Ricky van Wolfswinkel’ is certainly one that sticks in the memory… yet across European football, the Dutchman is prominent in people’s minds for bigger reasons than that.
A full international at the age of 24 and a regular goalscorer in the Portuguese Primeira Liga as well as in his native country, van Wolfswinkel will be well-known to most highly-regarded clubs across the continent.
Subject to all the relevant paperwork being completed, from July 1 Carrow Road will become the next stop in a career that has seen him net 82 times in 188 appearances for Vitesse Arnhem, FC Utrecht and Sporting Lisbon.
That record on the continent, paired with the standard of clubs that have been linked with the striker in the last 18 months, will certainly whet Canaries fans’ appetites, yet they will have to wait until next season to see him in action in yellow and green.
Born in the town of Woudenberg in the Utrecht district of the Netherlands, van Wolfswinkel broke goalscoring records as a junior and made his Arnhem debut at the back end of the 2007/08 campaign.
He was very much in the first-team frame the following year, playing 32 times in the Eredivisie and scoring eight goals, impressing enough to earn a move to FC Utrecht for a reported fee of €5m.
Successive seasons scoring first 11 and then 15 league goals were complemented by eye-catching performances on the European stage, with the highlight being a hat-trick in a 4-0 Europa League win against Celtic in August 2010.
Such form alerted European scouts and after being linked with a move to both Liverpool and Tottenham, van Wolfswinkel signed for Sporting Lisbon, moving to the Portuguese giants for €5.4m.
His eye for goal was evident once more, scoring 25 goals in all competitions in his first year with ‘Sportinguistas’, including nine in 20 European matches.
With the backdrop of financial struggle casting a shadow over the club this season, he hasn’t been as prolific with eight league goals, although he will still be a key figure for Sporting in the run-in.
He earned his single cap for the Netherlands in a friendly against Ukraine a fortnight before his hat-trick against Celtic, starting in a game that eventually finished 1-1.