Kawabe completes move to Belgium

Wolves have sold midfielder Hayao Kawabe to Belgian Pro League side Standard Liege in a permanent deal.

The Japanese international signed for the club in January 2022 from Grasshopper Club Zurich and spent much of his time on Old Gold books back on loan with the Swiss Super League side.

The 27-year-old became Wolves’ first ever Japanese signing and spent time training at Compton Park immediately after signing, before returning to Switzerland, where he progressed further, netting nine times last season.

Now Kawabe heads to Belgium for a new challenge with Standard, who finished sixth in the Pro League last season.

Sporting director Matt Hobbs said: “We signed Hayao 18 months ago and his development since has enabled us to have a really good return on our investment. He’s 28 now, so it feels the right time to allow him to sign permanently for a new club, rather than on loan again, and progress further.

“Although he hasn’t features for our first-team, his time with Wolves has benefitted both parties. Sometimes signings aren’t always defined on the pitch – if they aren’t going to be Wolves players, it’s important we get a return on our investment and set up players for the next stage of their careers.

“He’s benefitted from playing in Europe and done very, very well in Switzerland. Now, Hayao has the opportunity to kick on in Belgium and we wish him all the best there.”