Vainqueur finally joins Monaco despite failing

PARIS (AP) — Two days after failing a due to a calf problem, midfielder William Vainqueur has joined struggling Monaco on loan from Turkish club Antalyaspor.

Although only a minor calf injury, it was enough for Monaco to pull out of the move on Thursday because the club needed him available straight away.

But Monaco says it changed its mind because of the player’s strong “motivation” to play for the club.

Monaco is 19th in the French league heading into Sunday’s match at Marseille. Because the club is likely facing a relegation fight until the rest of the season, Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev says it needs strong-minded characters like Vainqueur.

“After this setback, William nevertheless showed a determination and a will to be involved which made look at the situation again,” Vasilyev said Saturday. “At this difficult moment, we need good players but also real men in order to bounce back. The values he showed definitively convinced us to take him.”

In order to convince the club to sign him, Vainqueur — which means “Winner” in French — reportedly offered not to be paid until he plays.

“My first feeling was one of disappointment when I found out I wasn’t ready,” Vainqueur told the club’s website. “But I really wanted to wear the club’s colors so I spontaneously offered to make all the efforts necessary.”

The 30-year-old Frenchman brings valuable experience, having previously impressed in spells with Nantes and Marseille.

It is a further boost for coach Thierry Henry, who has now made four January signings as he tries to save the club from relegation.

Cesc Fabregas, a World Cup winner and twice European Champion with Spain, joined from Chelsea on Friday on a long-term deal .

Henry has also signed two defenders so far during the transfer window: 22-year-old Fode Ballo-Toure from Lille and 36-year-old Brazilian Naldo from German club Schalke.

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