Playin' the Blues: Bastien Hery joins Linfield from Waterford for an undisclosed feeTue, Jul 09 2019
Linfield have made arguably the most significant signing of the summer transfer window so far with the capture of Bastien Héry from Waterford for an undisclosed fee.
The French midfielder has signed a two-year deal with the Premiership champions, who begin their Champions League campaign at home to Rosenborg on Wednesday.
Former Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk striker Michael O’Connor has been sent on loan to the RSC as part of the deal and will await international clearance ahead of Saturday’s trip to Sligo Rovers.
Héry worked briefly with Linfield’s general manager Pat Fenlon while the latter was director of football at the RSC, and Daniel Kearns was a teammate at Limerick.
The 27-year-old’s departure comes as a bitter blow to the Blues, who have already lost defender Damien Delaney, midfielder Scott Twine and strikers Izzy Akinade and Aaron Drinan in recent weeks.
Manager Alan Reynolds said Waterford’s own failure to secure European football this season, despite initially being allocated the third Europa League spot, lay behind the decision to let him go.
"Losing out on the European place has hit us hard and there's no point saying otherwise,” Reynolds told the club’s official website.
“There is a fallout from that and the club has had to make really tough decisions to offset that.
“The opportunity came up for Bastien. He really wanted to play in Europe and felt it was right for both parties that he got his opportunity.
"Bastien has been great for us since he came to the club 18 months ago. On and off the pitch he's been a really good guy and we wish him well.
“He’s been a character around the place but this is a great opportunity for him to play in the Champions League and we all wish him every success in the future."
Héry added: “I've loved being part of the club for the past 18 months. It's been a great experience and a huge part of my career to play for Waterford FC.
“The club, the fans and the town have made me feel so welcome from day one. Being so far from home I can never thank you all enough.
“Linfield is something different for me and playing in the Champions League is an exciting opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it.
“From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank everyone; from the coaches, to the staff, to my team mates this season and last who have been like my family, and the fans who have spurred the entire team on.
“Last but by no means least, I’d like to give a big shout to Michael the Kitman."