Wolves signing went ‘above and beyond’ to secure £13m transfer - even took surprise step to make it happen
The latest Wolves transfer news as it emerges Jean-Ricner Bellegarde truly went the extra mile to secure a move to Molineux.
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Jean-Ricner Bellegarde made his Wolverhampton Wanderers debut against Liverpool on Saturday following a £12.8 million switch from RC Strasbourg on Deadline Day. It was the kind of game the player has always dreamed of playing in.
Bellegarde didn’t have an easy start to his career as he never fully became a consistent starter for his first club, RC Lens, in Ligue 2. He then took a couple of years to solidify a place at Strasbourg before eventually rising to become one of their best.
The Premier League has always been the versatile midfielder’s dream destination and it appeared he was going to finally make the leap of faith in January, aged 24. But an ankle injury halted negotiations with Wolves and so the plug was pulled.
That didn’t drop Bellegarde’s spirits too much, though, as the energetic powerhouse returned to fitness in March and made it his mission to do all he could to ensure the Premier League ship hadn’t sailed, while Wanderers retained their interest.
According to The Athletic, Bellegarde was offered a bumper new contract from Strasbourg but he turned it down and embarked on several months of intensive English lessons. The aim was to leave France for England as soon as possible.
It appeared the opportunity may have passed once again as the clock ticked down on Deadline Day and Bellegarde was still a Strasbourg player, but a last-ditch attempt was made by Wolves, and a deal was done in the final hours of the window.
Donning the Old Gold for the first time on Saturday, the player’s determination to go above and beyond had paid off as he earned his first minutes. Despite a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, Bellegarde showed some quick adaptation and impressed.
It awaits to be seen whether the Frenchman will be able to force his way into Gary O’Neil’s starting 11, especially with Mario Lemina a similar profile of player, but Bellegarde’s first appearance has definitely thrown somewhat of a spanner in the works.
Wolves finally have some depth in midfield and should be able to compete with the rest of the Premier League in the centre of the park, even after the departures of Matheus Nunes and Ruben Neves. Resolute man Bellegarde could play a big part.