Former Norwich City striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel signs for Swiss club Basel, who will play in the Champions League next season
PUBLISHED: 17:27 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 17:40 14 June 2017
Norwich City flop Ricky van Wolfswinkel is set to play in the Champions League next season, after completing a switch to Swiss champions Basel.
The 28-year-old bounced back from his Norwich nightmare in emphatic fashion by returning to his boyhood club Vitesse Arnhem in Holland and scoring 23 goals in 37 matches in all competitions.
He capped his superb season with two goals in the KNVB-Beker Cup final, proving the difference in a 2-0 victory over AZ Alkmaar in front of over 45,000 spectators at the Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam – with both goals coming in the final 10 minutes to secure the first major trophy in Vitesse’s 125-year history.
Van Wolfswinkel has signed a three-year contract with Basel, who finished 11 points clear at the top of the Swiss Super League.
That means automatic qualification for the group stages of the Champions League, moving the striker back to the upper echelons of European football, where he was building his reputation with Sporting Lisbon before joining the Canaries.
His £8.5million switch to City in 2013 was followed by just two goals in 28 matches across three seasons, spending the latter two campaigns on loan in France with St Etienne and Spain with Real Betis.
He was sold for a nominal fee last summer – reportedly around £500,000 – to free up some of the wage budget at Carrow Road after relegation from the Premier League.
He has signed a three-year deal with Arnhem but has made a move to Basel for an undisclosed fee just a year into that deal.
Sporting director Marco Streller told Basel’s website: “We were looking for a striker who has a certain experience and has proved in the past that he is a goal-scorer. A striker with this requirement is very difficult to find, because such players quickly become out of our price range.
“We have watched Ricky on several occasions and we came to the same conclusion. He also came to my attention when I played for Basel against him at Sporting Lisbon.
“You can simply see the incredible quality that he brings with him. He was the second highest scorer in the Eredivisie and recently scored two goals to settled the cup final. I am really happy that he has signed for us.”
Belgian midfielder Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe was similarly let go last summer, after his £3m switch from Club Brugge in 2014 failed to work out, making just 19 appearances.
However, the 28-year-old also looks to be a man in demand this summer, with Radio Polska Live today reporting that Legia Warsaw have slapped a price tag of five million euros on his head.
Odjidja-Ofoe played a key role as Warsaw won the Polish Ekstraklasa title and won Uefa’s goal of the week award for an arrowed strike against Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages.
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