Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper remain on Chris Hughton’s Norwich City target list
Chris Hughton has not ruled out potential summer moves for Celtic’s Gary Hooper and Sporting Lisbon’s Ricky van Wolfkswinkel.
The Canaries’ boss confirmed yesterday City made ‘strong’ enquires for the highly-rated Dutch striker during the transfer window alongside their protracted public pursuit of Bhoys’ top scorer Hooper.
Canaries’ chief executive David McNally said the club were quoted 20 million Euros for their prime European target, and Hughton revealed Lisbon’s current valuation of the player was out of their price range. The 24-year-old is contracted to the Portuguese club until 2016 and Hooper has 18 months left on his existing Parkhead deal, but Norwich will continue to monitor both players.
“I think in such a short period of time like January the prices are inflated. There is no doubt about that,” said Hughton. “You always want more time and the summer is a time when you can make decisions in a better light. Of course, there becomes a lot of pressure in a small window. You have to make real tough decisions and you would always prefer to make them over a longer period of time.
“Where we are at this moment is we have made genuine attempts over a period of time. This hasn’t just been the last few week or the last few days. We put in substantial bids for players we recognised over a period of time that we would like. That is something you do through a scouting network and that shouldn’t change. If there are players on your radar that remains the same – the only way it should change is if you are made aware of other options.”
Hughton conceded the reality is both Celtic and Sporting Lisbon adopted a tough bargaining position over their prized assets.
“We certainly made strong enquiries (for van Wolfswinkel) but the figures that came back were way above what we would be prepared to pay,” he said. “What I would say is the conversations we had with Celtic were always done the right way and the same for the responses we got back.
“At this moment that door is closed, but we don’t know. We’ll see what the situation is in the summer. Our approaches were done in the correct manner. They decided they didn’t want to sell and it is part of the game. You might want their player but ultimately they have the final say and there is genuine respect between the two clubs.”
Hughton did manage to freshen up his striking stocks with the additions of Leeds’ 19-goal hitman Luciano Becchio and Sporting Kansas City’s Kei Kamara. The City boss is convinced Becchio has the quality to make a seamless transition from the Football League.
“No, we have numerous players in our team in exactly the same position or were in that they hadn’t played in the Premier League,” said Hughton. “I think particularly with strikers you want them to go into a team that you hope will create chances. He is not a young man, he has good experience and a very good goalscoring record. That is the reason why when we felt if there was an opportunity to get him, there was that interest on our part.
“He is in good goalscoring form this season so he doesn’t need to get up to speed. He was playing well at Leeds. He will certainly give us another dimension – whether that is to start or from the bench and he can play in a one up top or he can play in a two. The first thing I think he will bring is a freshness to the team, and that is something I was keen to do. We have maintained the four strikers we had, we brought in two new strikers.”
Hughton is hopeful Kamara will arrive in time for next weekend’s Premier League game against Fulham with club officials in the process of completing the relevant paperwork for the Sierra Leone international.
“He is probably someone who gives us more options,” he said. “He has a very good goalscoring record in the States. He has also played in a 4-3-3 in those wide areas and with all forward players you have to think about a starting option and an impact - and he gives us that.
“We’re probably going to have to wait a few days for him, but we look forward to his arrival as well.”
Norwich were also strongly linked with a deadline day move for Birmingham’s former England 21 centre-back Curtis Davies. Hughton confirmed City had made enquiries but denied Leon Barnett was offered as a makeweight in the deal to entice the cultured defender to Carrow Road.
“There was a very strong enquiry,” he said. “I saw something quoted on Thursday that had Leon Barnett as part of a deal. There is absolutely no fact in that one but there was a strong enquiry for Curtis.”