The Hoef's off
Carl Hoefkens has completed his move to West Brom in a deal that is worth over £750,000.
Fans will be disappointed to see the Belgium international defender leave, but at least we seem to have made a decent profit on the deal, said to be an initial £750,000 that can could rise to nearly £1m with performance add-ons. The only drawback is that a certain percentage will have to be given to the previous Icelandic owners as part of the deal agreed during Peter Coates' buyout last year.
Hoefkens, who was signed by Johan Boskamp in August 2005, was, arguably, the only lasting achievement of the Boskamp era. He won all the player of the season awards that season, only missing out last season due to an inspired first season for the new captain, Danny Higginbotham. His relationship with Tony Pulis was reported to have got off a rocky start this time last year and he struggled to find favour with his new manager, but after the club attempted to sell him to FC Bruges last January, he turned it down and vowed to win the gaffer round. That he did and showed his ability to either play in midfield or defence with equal ease. So it was not really surprising that with only one year left on his contract, the vultures have been circling.
The move to the Baggies will allow the Hoefkens family to remain living in North Staffordshire which seems to have been an important aspect in Carl's decision to sign for the club. The other minor point being a reported tripling of his salary at the Hawthorns.
The Potters made a late attempt to try and keep the player at the Britannia by calling him in for talks about a new contract last Friday. By that time the Baggies' deal had been publicly known for over a week. Maybe with a more proactive attitude the club could have forestalled any transfer bid by signing the player onto an extended contract earlier in the summer - but that's, perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight.