GIFTED French midfielder, Bastien Hery claims the opportunity to play in the Champions League was too good to turn down as he joined Danske Bank Premiership champions, Linfield for an undisclosed fee from Waterford.
The signing comes as a major coup for Blues boss, David Healy ahead of their Champions League qualifier against Norwegian outfit, Rosenborg at Windsor Park on Wednesday night.
Former PSG youth, Hery was one of the stand-out players during the 2018 League of Ireland Premier Division as he helped steer Waterford to a fourth placed finish.
That was enough to secure a place in this season's Europa League competition, however, Waterford then were denied a UEFA licence to compete in Europe and had their exemption request rejected on the non-fulfilment of the three-year rule as defined in the Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations, due to a change of ownership.
The club's failure to secure European football hit the club financially and they were forced to sell one of their biggest playing assets.
And Hery, who established himself in the League of Ireland with Limerick before spending the last 18 months with Waterford, felt the move to the Irish League was an 'exciting opportunity'.
"It’s been a great experience and a huge part of my career to play for Waterford FC," said Hery. "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.
“However, Linfield is something different for me and playing in the Champions League is an exciting opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it."
And Blues boss, Healy was also keen to express his delight at his latest signing.
“I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Bastien to Linfield," he said. "He’s a player I’ve long admired and a player we’ve identified as someone we’d love to bring to Windsor Park.
"He’s a top quality midfielder and a highly experienced player who will add real finesse to our squad. He’s a terrific addition to our squad and he’s very keen to come on board with us.
"He’s in the middle of the league season down south and I’ve no doubt he will fit easily into our squad and be welcomed as a very significant signing by everyone at the club.
"I want to thank our board for giving me the backing to sign a player who I’m really looking forward to starting to work with in the near future.
"He’s a player well known to our recruitment and development manager, Willie McKeown and I want to thank him for his efforts in helping to get this signing over the line."
As part of this transfer deal striker, Michael O’Connor will be joining Waterford on loan until the end of the current League of Ireland season.
Linfield chairman Roy McGivern was equally enthusiastic about the new arrival at Windsor Park.
"I am delighted that we have secured the signing of Bastien Hery from Waterford. "He is undoubtedly a quality player and one that we have admired for some time. Our Head of Recruitment, Willie McKeown, has watched Bastien on numerous occasions and he has been highly recommended to us.
"I am looking forward to seeing him in a Linfield jersey and it is another exciting signing for the club as we prepare for the challenges of a new season."