Could Van Wolfswinkel be the man to wake Norwich from their slumber?

Sporting Lisbon striker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel appears to be the latest in a long line of strikers linked with a move to Carrow Road this January. However, with reported targets Gary Hooper likely to stay in Glasgow to see out Celtic’s Champions League campaign and Danny Graham being prepared to fight for his place in Swansea’s League Cup Final line-up, Norwich manager Chris Hughton may now focus his full attention on acquiring the services of Van Wolfswinkel.

Norwich have endured a turgid run of form since mid-December having picked up only 1 point from their last possible 18, leaving them in 13th place, just 6 points above the relegation zone. This recent slump can largely be attributed to their misfiring strike force as the Carrow Road club have only scored 5 goals in their last 6 games and still await their first league win of 2013. Alarmingly – with only 4 goals – midfielder Robert Snodgrass is the club’s top goalscorer this year as strikers Grant Holt and Steve Morison have been unable to replicate the form they both produced last year during their inaugural Premiership season.

Hughton will be hoping to remedy this statistic before the transfer window slams shut by bringing in a player he believes to be a proven goalscorer and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel could be his man. The 23 year old Dutch striker – who has been the rumoured pursuit of Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester United in recent seasons – joined Sporting Lisbon in June 2011, after successful spells in his homeland with Vitesse Arnhem and more notably Utrecht, for whom he netted 26 goals in 2 Eredivisie seasons. Highlights during his time with Utrecht included a Europa League hat-trick against Celtic and a first and only cap for the Dutch national side which sparked the interest of many clubs around Europe including Portuguese giants Sporting.

On the surface it may appear strange for the Lisbon-based side to be willing to part with their 5.4million Euro signing and top goalscorer who has netted them 26 goals in 52 games since his arrival – a ratio of 1 goal in every other game. However, Sporting have endured financial difficulties in recent months, exemplified by UEFA’s decision to freeze the club’s prize money as a result of their inability to meet payments due to other clubs and employees. Subsequently, club captain Daniel Carrico was sold to Reading earlier this month for just 750,000 Euros and Van Wolfwinkel could be the next player to follow him out of the exit door at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in a cut-price deal.

Whether Sporting Lisbon are likely to sell their main marksman to Norwich for a figure as low as the £5million reported in the papers last week remains unclear, but what is certain is that Chris Hughton needs to sign a goalscorer before the transfer window closes to prevent the Canaries from sliding further into the relegation mire.