Last summer, Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel cost Norwich City £8.5 million from Sporting Lisbon. After just one goal in 25 league appearances it is safe to label that move a failure. You can understand why Norwich fans wouldn’t be quick to welcome him back at Carrow Road, but it seems that the striker is extremely happy with his life in French football.
Speaking to local French site Le Progres, Van Wolfswinkel has expressed his interest in staying at Saint-Etienne beyond his current loan spell.
“I am seriously thinking about it. I would (stay) even if I know things can evolve very quickly. For it to happen, I need to play well and be important for the team. We will see at the end of the season but I do not see why I would want to go anywhere else. Holland, Portugal, England, France, we have moved around a lot in the last years. My family feels good here. The people are very nice.”
In his 11 appearances for Saint-Etienne, the Dutch forward has started six times and scored twice so far this season, both of those strikes coming at the Stade Geoffrey-Guichard.
His latest goal came in the 1-1 draw with Monaco before the winter break, and the forward has also provided important assists, setting up game winners against both Metz and RC Lens.
It may not look like he has played a crucial role, but in a side that has only scored 13 goals this season, being involved in four of them is a significant percentage.
Saint-Etienne may be tempted in making his deal permanent when they look at the way a similar deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang worked in their favour. On loan from AC Milan the now Borussia Dortmund forward only scored twice in his first season.
Then Les Verts signed him on a permanent contract and the Gabon international went on to score 16 goals in his first season as an official Saint-Etienne striker.
This is not to say that Van Wolfswinkel is in the same league as Aubameyang, but it could help the player develop if Saint-Etienne shows him the same faith this summer.