Wolverhampton Wanderers’ record signing Kevin Doyle last night shrugged off the pressure of his price tag after completing a £6.5 million transfer from Reading.
Doyle was hailed as a “‘marquee signing” by Molineux chief executive Jez Moxey upon agreeing a four-year contract with the promoted Premier League club.
Manager Mick McCarthy could barely contain his delight after chairman Steve Morgan sanctioned the deal to capture the most expensive player in the club’s history.
Wolves’ previous record outlay was the £3 million fees paid for Ade Akinbiyi and Kenny Miller – the acquisition of Doyle, 25, is regarded as a sign of the Black Country club’s intention not to repeat the mistakes of 2003-04 when a lack of investment resulted in immediate relegation back to the Championship.
The Republic of Ireland international striker, described as “in his prime” by McCarthy, is the club’s third signing of the summer following the arrivals of Serbian international midfielder Nenad Milijas from Belgrade’s Red Star and American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, also from Reading.
Asked about the record fee, Doyle replied: “It doesn’t bother me at all to be honest – it’s been that sort of figure for a few transfer windows and it’s been talked about so it’s not just come out of the blue.
“It’s probably a bit easier to get used to so it doesn’t affect me.
“I’m delighted to get the move sorted and can’t wait to get going.
“I spoke to the manager and chief executive over a week ago and came to the training ground to see everything.
“I’ve been making my mind up over the last couple of weeks and am just really pleased the decision has been made.
“The facilities here are top class and it’s great to be going back into the Premier League again.”
McCarthy revealed that Wolves beat off competition from a host of rival clubs to sign Doyle.
He said: “I think it’s a huge signing for the football club and I think it is a coup because there were other clubs interested and there have been since last season.
“I’ve talked about players having Premier League experience and Kevin has, he’s had a couple of seasons in it, including one great season, and he scores goals, he’s a very good player.
“He’s young, hungry and probably in his prime now and I think for us to secure that signing is brilliant.
“I think there’ll be one or two others scratching their heads and wondering why they haven’t managed to do it.”
The latest signing will quickly become acquainted with the physical demands placed on the Wolves squad when he joins in pre-season training this week.
Molineux fitness coach Tony Daley has been putting McCarthy’s squad through their paces in preparation for the Premier League season.
“It’s not massively different to what we did last season but we are hoping for some improvements,” Daley said.
“I know there’s the thought that fitness-wise it’s tougher in the Championship because of all the games but at the same time you’ve got to remember that the players in the Premiership who as fit if not fitter than us.
“Our aim is to better what we’ve done before to try to give ourselves an advantage.
“The lads are always pretty fit but it’s important – especially if we’re playing against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United – that we are able to go for 95 minutes and not 85,” Daley added.