Wolves make Hwang Hee-chan move permanent
Hwang Hee-chan celebrated his 26th birthday on Wednesday with a somewhat unexpected gift: A four-year permanent contract with Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves announced the signing on Wednesday, announcing that the club had activated a clause to make his existing loan from RB Leipzig permanent later this year.
The move came as something of a surprise, as although manager Bruno Lage has made it clear that he wants Hwang to become a permanent fixture at the club, a recent hamstring injury that took the Korean striker out for the last month was expected to delay that move to the summer.
By activating the clause, Wolves have committed to signing Hwang on a four-year contract this summer. The deal, for which both personal terms and the club fee were agreed last year, won't actually go through until the summer, presumably putting Hwang with the club until the end of the 2025-26 season.
According to reports, the deal is estimated at between £11.9 million and £14 million ($16 million to £19 million).
Hwang, who is known as The Bull for his relentlessly aggressive style of play, quickly become a fan favorite after joining Wolves on loan in August, scoring four goals in his first six Premier League appearances. The fact that Hwang has a very different approach to countryman Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur — relying on strength and persistence rather than speed and agility — has only added to the interest.
"Although he is currently recovering from an injury which has put him out of action for the past month," Wolves said in a statement, "the Korean international has made a big impact on the club, scoring four times in his opening six appearances in the Premier League."
Hwang, who turned 26 on Thursday, is looking to return from injury after the current international break.
"I’m very happy to be here at Wolves until 2026" Hwang said in a statement released by Wolves on Thursday. "I feel very happy to play for a team with a really good manager and great teammates. They have helped me with many things since I came here, and because of this, I have been able to focus just on me and my football and have been able to do my things well. I want to say thank you to them because they have helped me to try my best."
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]