Ola Toivonen fits Chris Hughton transfer model

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Ola Toivonen is looking to leave PSV EindhovenGettyImagesOla Toivonen is looking to leave PSV Eindhoven

Norwich City's struggles in front of goal proved an enduring theme of their successful Premier League survival. The Canaries' transfer interest in PSV's Ola Toivonen is a revealing insight into Chris Hughton's close season activity.

The Swedish international now has a career choice to make, should what appears a growing fracture with his Dutch club prove irreversible. Ricky van Wolfswinkel's already confirmed high profile capture from Sporting Lisbon is a major boost to Norwich's striking stocks, but Toivonen's versatility to operate both as an additional striker or an attacking midfielder fits perfectly within Hughton's transfer template.

City's manager opted to operate with a lone frontman for the majority of last season in a system that appears to have captured the imagination of many Premier League rivals. Norwich's survival hinged on defensive solidity and an impressively high degree of cohesive organisation, routinely embellished with an economical counter-attacking verve.

Spend any period of time in the Norwich manager's company and you realise there is very little of the gambler's instinct that perhaps typified the philosophy of his predecessor, who helped guide Norwich from League One to the Premier League upon waves of attacking football. Hughton's trusted managerial methods have brought rewards at Newcastle and now Norwich, whilst Birmingham's financial restrictions eventually curtailed his attempt to marry Europa League progress with a sustained Championship promotion push in his solitary season at St Andrews.

One can expect nuanced summer changes to Hughton's Norwich squad. Toivonen fits the model; a versatile operator who can be harnessed within Norwich's team ethic. City require mobile players with the pace and the rapier movement to supply van Wolfswinkel.

Dissect the readily available raw material at Hughton's disposal right now and he is less well endowed in creative, attacking potential than he is defensively-minded operators. Norwich over the final weeks of last term - when the stakes rose exponentially with each winless Premier League test - were picked off at times by men like Gabby Agbonlahor or Reading's Garath McCleary; wide players with the turbo-charged acceleration to burst clear and alter the flow of a game in a blur.

City possess undoubted talent in those areas with men of the calibre of Anthony Pilkington, Robert Snodgrass and Elliott Bennett but none of that preferred trio possess the searing pace to inject an added dimension to Norwich's forward potency.

City's purchase of Van Wolfswinkel is a recognition of that fact, but the Dutchman needs targeted reinforcements to unlock his goalscoring potential. Toivonen's duality offers craft and guile from midfield and another striking dimension to depleted stocks. Simeon Jackson and Chris Martin were released in the first salvos of the latest trading window.

James Vaughan is coveted by a clutch of Championship clubs after his impressive season-long spell at Huddersfield after Hughton elected to dispense with the former Evertonian's services for his first season at the helm. Whether or not Hughton elects to bring him back into the fold is another intriguing sub-plot with Luciano Becchio and Grant Holt still in the mix alongside Van Wolfswinkel. But Hughton's attacking strategy is beginning to take shape.

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