Wigan agree fee to sign Holt

Ricky van Wolfswinkel is in no doubt he can plunder plenty of

goals for Norwich City and is not fazed by his hefty price-tag.

Canaries boss Chris Hughton has signed the 24-year-old

Netherlands international striker for a reported

£8.5million from Sporting Lisbon.

Hughton believes the signing of Van Wolfswinkel could be “the

one that turns some of our draws into wins”.

Norwich were short on firepower last season, with the team

averaging just over a goal a game in the Premier League.

Van Wolfswinkel weighed in with 14 strikes for Sporting – the

fourth highest of any player in Portugal’s Primeira Liga – and

notched three in their Europa League campaign.

His transfer fee is almost three times the amount Norwich paid

Crewe Alexandra to sign Dean Ashton over eight years ago, but Van

Wolfswinkel is not feeling any additional pressure.

“It shows me Norwich have a lot of confidence in me,” he said in

the Daily Star Sunday. “If anything, I see it more as a

motivation.

“I’m confident of scoring goals. That’s part and parcel of my

job, but the most important thing for me is I am a team

player.”

Huth has been a regular in the Potters’ back four since joining

them from Middlesbrough in 2009, but he faces increased competition

for a starting spot next season under new boss Mark Hughes.

Although primarily a left-back, Pieters can play as a

centre-back, while Muniesa has stated his preference to play in the

centre of defence.

Huth told the club’s official website: “It’s always good to have

someone to hopefully improve your game.

“Game on – everyone’s place is up for grabs. All the positions

that were occupied last season are there to be taken with a new

manager. I’ve got to keep my head together and stay fit and see

what happens.

“I’ve seen both Erik and Marc play on TV and I’m looking forward

to meeting them on Monday when we report back.”

Huth is raring to go as he prepares to return to training after

doing some additional fitness work over the summer.

The 28-year-old Germany international added: “I like to do a bit

of hard work before we report back, so next week when we do start

officially I won’t get the aches and pains that I normally get.

“I personally look forward to pre-season. It’s a chance to get

away with the lads, we are going to the United States for almost

two weeks and to France as well I think. It will be hard work, but

it’s something to enjoy as well.”

Jol has already brought in Venezuela centre-back Fernando

Amorebieta, Ghana midfielder Derek Boateng and Holland goalkeeper

Maarten Stekelenburg on free transfers so far this summer.

The Cottagers boss has been heavily linked with moves for

Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone and is expected to seal a

swoop soon for Wolves winger Bakary Sako, with talks already

confirmed by the League One club.

In addition, Jol could bring Cameroon international Eyong Enoh

back to west London after the defensive midfielder impressed on

loan from Ajax in the second half of last season.

Jol said: “We were quite early getting Amorebieta and the others

– we are very happy to have them on board. It’s always nice to

integrate them, and take the new players away with us.

“We are still working on one or two – we want them going with us

as well. There will be one or two coming back, because we had a few

loan players. I’ll try to get them in now, because 14 players are

left and we’re still working on five or six players to come to this

club.

“Three are already here so that was good, because most of the

time you do your business late. This was quite early, so that was a

positive sign.”

Fulham will play three pre-season friendlies against Costa Rican

Primera Division clubs at the Estadio Nacional in the capital of

San Jose.

Next Sunday, they meet last season’s Verano championship

runners-up Cartagines, followed by a midweek clash against Bryan

Ruiz’s former club Alajuelense who were Invierno champions in

December.

The tour concludes with Fulham taking on the most successful

club in Costa Rican football history, Deportivo Saprissa, on

Saturday 20 July.

The Belgium international joined from Sunderland last month and

is not afraid of the battle for the number one jersey.

“That’s always what has happened when there’s competition,”

Mignolet said. “I’ve had competition in Sunderland and in Belgium

with the national team.

“It’s not only Pepe – there’s a lot of good goalies at

Liverpool, like Brad Jones for example – and it’s not only the

position of the goalie where there is competition. It’s every

single position on the field.

“There are only 11 players who can play and it is something that

is normal with being a football player. You have to deal with that.

Competition can only make you as an individual better and let you

perform better. It can only be a positive thing.

“From the talks I had with the manager and the goalkeeping coach

I felt they were very ambitious and the club wants to get

forward.

“The signings they’d already done before July showed they really

wanted to get going. They want to push on again in the Premier

League. It was obvious that they are an ambitious club and a big

club.

“I know how big a club this is but I think I’m only going to

feel it once the games get going. The first few training sessions

went okay. I’m very happy to be here and train.”

The 29-year-old has rejoined Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala,

with Rangers recouping almost all the £12.5million fee

they spent on him in January.

With such a considerable boost to Harry Redknapp’s transfer

coffers, and with the parachute payments from the Premier League,

Samba hopes his old club can spend wisely and return to the top

flight at the first attempt.

“Rangers already have a great squad,” said Samba. “But it’s true

that with the money they’ve got, I hope they do some smart

recruitment to get the players they need to face the battle for

promotion.”

Samba has paid tribute to QPR chairman Tony Fernandes, who was

keen to retain the giant defender’s services at Loftus Road.

“Tony Fernandes is a great man,” Samba added to the Sunday

Mirror. “He wanted to keep me and help him back up, but I believe

the offer from Russia was too good to let it pass by.

“It was a big decision and not one that was easy to make. I

wanted to help the club to get straight back into the Premier

League, where they should be.

“I was not planning to go anywhere. I wanted to reward the club

for their support. I was getting mentally prepared for the battle

in the Championship.”

Samba was plagued by knee problems during his six-month spell in

west London, meaning he only made 10 starts in the Premier League,

the last being a 2-0 home defeat by Stoke City on April 20th.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent fit,” said the former Blackburn Rovers

man, “So, I couldn’t give my best to the club and the fans who

deserved better. They are great fans and then stood by the team

despite the results.”

The Latics will now discuss personal terms with the 32-year-old,

who has been with the Canaries since 2009.

Holt netted 15 league goals in Norwich’s first season back in

the top flight in 2011/12, but he only scored eight Premier League

goals last term and City manager Chris Hughton has been actively

seeking reinforcements up front.

The former Sheffield Wednesday, Rochdale, Nottingham Forest and

Shrewsbury striker does have a prolific record in the Football

League, though, and new Latics boss Owen Coyle wants Holt to

spearhead his strike-force in the Championship as Wigan seek an

immediate return to the Premier League.

Sky Bet had earlier suspended their betting on Holt’s next club

after he was repeatedly backed at 1/5 to join Wigan.

Sky Bet football trader Chris Spicer said: “We had to pull the

plug on Holt’s market due to the sheer volume of bets we’ve taken

on.

“Our customers have been queuing up to back the move, which was

an even-money price just two days ago and as long as 8/1 last

week.”