Hull City sign former Celtic man Hesselink

HULL CITY this morning finalised a deal to sign Dutch international striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

The 30-year-old was available even though the transfer window closed earlier this week due to having left Celtic earlier in the summer.

Tigers' manager Phil Brown has long been an admirer of the former PSV Eindhoven striker, who has also been interesting Blackburn Rovers, Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin and French side St Etienne, and has spent the past few days trying to persuade Vennegoor of Hesselink that his future lies in the East Riding.

The player underwent a medical yesterday and has become the club's eighth summer signing, penning a two-year deal.

Vennegoor of Hesselink has been training with former club FC Twente in his native Holland for the past few weeks and, providing the signing goes ahead, he should be included in the squad to face Sunderland a week on Saturday.

The 6ft 3ins striker will arrive at the KC Stadium with an enviable scoring record of having netted 173 goals in 379 appearances for FC Twente, PSV EIndhoven and Celtic.

Vennegoor of Hesselink spent five years with PSV and won three Dutch titles before moving to Parkhead for 3.4m in 2006 and going on to claim two league titles, a Scottish Cup and a Scottish League Cup.

He featured in all but one of Celtic's league games in the second half of last season after recovering from injury but was released during the summer by newly-appointed Tony Mowbray.

Capturing a proven goalscorer with several seasons of Champions League experience will be a major coup and one that could go some way towards placating those fans still angry over the departure of Michael Turner.

The sale of the club's Player of the Year to Sunderland for an undisclosed fee left many openly questioning the club's ambition, especially with just one signing – Stoke City defender Ibrahima Sonko – being subsequently made before the window closed.

It is an accusation, however, that Tigers chairman Paul Duffen rejects vehemently.

Speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Post, he said: "How anyone can say that at a time when Hull City has the strongest team in its history is beyond me.

"I can assure everyone the commitment the board of directors has to this club is exactly the same as it was when we came in on June 11, 2007 – to keep improving responsibly.

"Because Hull City, like many others, is constrained by financial parameters, we will have to make tough decisions from time to time. And what we will not do is make a decision just because it is the popular one.

"The deal was the right one for Michael and the right one for the club. Michael had been a very loyal servant of Hull City but he also has ambition. There is no question that Michael felt it was the time for him to move on.

"We had to decide if that was the case, while also weighing up a need to generate resources to ensure the club keeps evolving.

"I feel it was an extremely successful transfer window for Hull City, achieved within the primary target of not threatening the financial future of the football club.

"We have to retain the perspective that Hull City do not need to do life threatening and reckless deals to stay in the Premier League.

"We run this club from the income it generates and all that money gets reinvested within the football club. To those who suggest we lack ambition, it is a fact that we have spent more money buying players in the window than was generated from sales."

Duffen is also quick to point out that it is not just in terms of transfer fees where Hull's ambition levels can be judged with the increased wage bill needed to keep a club afloat in the Premier League also being a useful gauge.

He added: "As a club, we do get a lot of money from Sky but that sum, just about, covers the salaries of the players at Hull City. The wage bill for the players alone is between 25m and 30m. That is why generation of income from elsewhere is so important be it ticketing, merchandising or other areas."