Conor Coady is closing in on a move to Everton.
The Wolves defender is poised to complete a season-long loan to Goodison Park - with the Toffees holding the option to buy.
Despite spending the past seven years at Molineux - and being club captain - he has fallen down the pecking order.
As a consequence, Coady was left on the bench for Wolves’ 2-1 opening-day loss to Leeds United on Saturday.
With Everton losing Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina to injury in their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea at the weekend - with the former sidelined for potentially up to three months - Frank Lampard’s side’s interest in Coady intensified.
And with the 29-year-old desiring regular football to maintain his spot in England’s World Cup squad, he’s keen on a switch to Goodison Park.
Not only is Lampard an admirer but so too is director of football Kevin Thelwell. He has been for a long time.
Indeed, Thelwell was responsible for signing Coady from Liverpool when he was head of football development and recruitment at Wolves.
And those 2015 discussions were the simplest Thelwell has been involved in.
What’s been said
Speaking to The Athletic in July 2021, he said: “It was the simplest negotiation for a player I’ve ever done.
“I felt sorry for his agent! When he came to negotiate, it was a pointless exercise.
“Coady was just desperate to play for Wolves and the money just wasn’t important — he’d have played for nothing. In a world where it seems every decision is made around money, it was a breath of fresh air.
“Ever since then, he’s been the ultimate and consummate professional and I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about him. Nor would I expect to. He’s just a top human being.”
‘Nuno got a fantastic surprise’
After Nuno Espirito Santo took charge of Wolves in 2017, Coady was moved positions to play in the centre of a three-man defence.
In that role, he became a key player to help the midlands outfit to the Premier League and then qualify for the Europa League.
Thelwell believes Coady’s mentality, dovetailed with his prowess to eady the game, is why he thrived.
He added: “People always wanted him in the team, but finding that right spot was the difficulty. Better coaches and people than me have asked that question and not found the answer until Nuno put him in the back three. The rest is history.
“Nuno got a fantastic surprise, is how he described it to me. Then we told him the back-story of Coady being torn between the two positions.
“The reason it works yes, he’s got a strong mentality, but also he’s got the reading of the game. If you need an example of that, playing with no crowds gives you an insight as he’s continually talking and kicking every ball in the game, really, telling team-mates what to do and how to do it.
“That reading of the game helps in the middle of the three because he’s not pushed into duels with strikers all the time. And then, because he sees things earlier than everyone else he can give him half a yard in terms of positional play, which generally leads to a successful outcome if he needs to get in any sort of duel.
“At Wolves, we never called it the centre of a three. We called it the Coady role.”