Leicester-bound Wolves defender Ryan Bennett has revealed his mate James Maddison helped persuade him to go to King Power Stadium.
The 29-year-old centre-back has joined the Champions League contenders on loan for the rest of the season with a view to a £5m permanent move in the summer.
Bennett arrives at King Power Stadium after playing 19 times in all competitions for Nuno Espírito Santo’s side this season, scoring once in the UEFA Europa League.
The former Grimsby and Peterborough man gave Wolves sterling service, playing in 92 games in all competitions, winning the Championship in his first season after arriving on a free transfer from Norwich, where he knows Maddison from.
The experienced defender says he has already rekindled his friendship with the playmaker.
“I get on well with ‘Madders’. He’s probably one of the first people I spoke to when I was coming here,” said Bennett.
“He’s welcomed me, so I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of each other now, so it will be nice.”
The powerful centre-back revealed former Albion defender Jonny Evans was among the first players he saw at Leicester’s Belvoir Drive training ground on Friday.
Evans is first choice centre back with Çağlar Söyüncü, while vastly experienced club captain Wes Morgan, 36, is also competition for Bennett.
“I saw Jonny Evans, but it’s been a long day!” he said. “It’s finally done, so I guess I’ll meet them probably tomorrow (Saturday) at the game, so we’ll see.”
Nuno has praised Bennett’s contribution to the rise of Wolves as ‘amazing’ as he thanked him for his service.
“Ryan has been amazing for us for two and a half seasons and we wish him all the best at Leicester,” said the Molineux head coach.
“Every time there’s a situation like this, all the parties have to be agreed, so us as a club, Ryan as a player and Leicester as a club also, are happy and see that’s the best option, so let’s move on.”
Nuno clearly feels he has enough cover at centre back to let Bennett leave, with Willy Boly fit again, and Leander Dendoncker, Conor Coady and Romain Saiss the recent regular defensive trio, and with Max Kilman waiting in the wings, Bennett had dropped to sixth choice after the sub-loan departure of Jesus Vallejo to Granada.
Leicester finished ninth last season, two places and five points below Wolves as Bennett made 40 appearances last term.
But the Foxes have made great strides under Brendan Rodgers this season and go into Saturday’s visit of fifth-placed Chelsea in third, eight points above Frank Lampard’s side and 14 ahead of Manchester United in fifth.
Bennett insists their form is no fluke after the way they have progressed under Rodgers.
“It’s great to be here. It’s a massive club and the league table doesn’t lie,” he said.
“The manager has taken the team to another level and the players deserve great credit too.
“The club is moving in a forward direction and it’s really good to be part of it.
“It’s a very, very good club. You can see the way the club is moving in a forward direction, it’s exciting to be a part of that for the next few months.
“The forward momentum they’ve had and the new manager coming in has took them to another level.
“It’s one of those games you look at now – playing against Leicester is a tough, tough game and the league table doesn’t lie over this duration.
“I’ve experienced the atmosphere at King Power Stadium before too with Wolves and with Norwich. It’s a great environment here and it’s a journey I’m looking forward to.”
Bennett, who has won promotion three times in his career, twice from the Championship and once from League One, is also looking forward to getting to know his new team-mates.
“It’s a credit to the club, a credit to the team and also the players,” he added. “I’m hearing it’s a great group of players in the changing room, so I can’t wait to see the boys in there.
“It’s exciting. My previous club was doing well as well, so it’s nice having two-and-a-half years of forward momentum really.
“This is just another sort of journey. Coming into a club that’s excelling in the league, it’s always nice to join a happy environment, so it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”