The signing of a prolific Dutchman suggested Norwich's interest in Gary Hooper was over...but not necessarily.
Yesterday we ran a story on what Ricky Van Wolfswinkel’s transfer to Norwich means for Gary Hooper. After the Canaries reportedly made four unsuccessful bids for the Celtic striker in January, the signing of the prolific Dutchman suggested no further offers would come in the summer.
But there is another way to look at the Van Wolfswinkel transfer, and that is as the first half of a dream strike force for Chris Hughton’s side.
Securing the 24-year-old doesn’t mean Hughton’s interest in Hooper has faded. In fact, getting one forward so early means they have the whole summer to negotiate for the other.
Despite having strikers aplenty at Carrow Road, those strikers have been far from effective this season. Grant Holt’s return of just five goals in 30 appearances speaks of a man very much with second-season-syndrome, while Simeon Jackson has only three and Luciano Becchio is yet to score since joining from Leeds.
Compare that with Van Wolfswinkel’s 13 for Sporting Lisbon this season, and Hooper’s 24 for Celtic.
Reports in January suggested Norwich’s initial offer for Hooper was £5million, and was still only £6.25million three offers later. Having agreed a fee of £8.5million for the Dutch striker two things are clear.
Firstly, the money is there for Hughton to spend, and secondly, either he rates Van Wolfswinkel more highly than he does Hooper, or there is more spending to come once the transfer window opens officially in July.
Currently the third-lowest goal scorers in the Premier League, it was clear something needed to change next season to prevent it being an uncomfortable one. The arrival of one striker suggests potential, but the arrival of a second would give promise that a side flirting with mid-table could soon be challenging much higher.
Grant Holt’s recent three-year deal will put an end to speculation on his future, and he will hope next season is more like last. But at 31 he is at least catching glimpses of the end of his time in the top flight. The pairing of two prolific strikers both under 26, to rotate with the experienced Holt, would make Norwich a very dangerous proposition indeed.
If Hughton hasn’t thought that already, maybe he should.
So what do you think? Will both strikers ultimately end up at Norwich? And if not, will Hooper leave Celtic or remain in the SPL?
image: © pittaya