The beast from Brittany was very much the beauty of Bournemouth.
Yann Kermorgant’s stay at Vitality Stadium may have been relatively brief but he certainly made a lasting impression.
The Frenchman, who this week announced his retirement, spent two fruitful years with the Cherries after signing from Charlton in January 2014.
Hugely popular with supporters of the London club, Kermorgant scored twice for the Addicks against the Cherries, a winner at Dean Court in League One in March 2012 and a consolation on the opening day of the 2013/14 Championship season.
A fearsome opponent and a scourge of defenders, Kermorgant was identified by boss Eddie Howe as a player to fortify his attacking options as the Cherries looked to continue their meteoric progress.
At 32, his knowledge and wealth of experience were an added bonus to what was a fairly youthful Cherries squad in the club’s first season in the second flight following a 23-year absence.
Kermorgant was persuaded to uproot his young family from their London home and became one of six new faces during a hectic January transfer window.
Enticed by Howe’s footballing philosophy, his aerial prowess would go on to reap handsome dividends in a squad laced with out-and-out wingers and overlapping full-backs.
The different dimension Howe hoped Kermorgant would provide became evident when he plundered a hat-trick on his full debut in a 5-0 rout of Doncaster Rovers in March 2014.
A powerfully-built frontman with a great touch, Kermorgant showed immediately he would fit the Cherries’ style.
Technically astute and a past master at linking play, it was clear there was nothing one-dimensional about Kermorgant.
The Breton, who instantly forged an excellent understanding with strike partner Lewis Grabban, bagged nine goals in the final 12 games of the season as the Cherries finished tenth, missing out on the play-offs by just six points.
A career in professional football had seemed a long way off when Kermorgant had been diagnosed with leukaemia, aged just 14, having joined the academy at Stade Rennais.
Given the all-clear four years later, the illness clearly helped shaped Kermorgant’s fighting spirit and dogged determination, qualities which served him well in later life.
The arrival of Callum Wilson in the summer of 2014 further strengthened Howe’s attacking options, while Brett Pitman’s form in pre-season certainly gave the manager food for thought.
But Kermorgant got the nod for the Cherries’ opener at Huddersfield, justifying the gaffer’s selection by netting the third goal and turning in an accomplished display in a 4-0 win.
Although a sending off in a 2-1 win at Bolton temporarily saw him lose his place, Kermorgant’s contribution to a season which ended in promotion to the Premier League will never be forgotten or underestimated by those associated with the club.
He finished the campaign as joint second-highest goalscorer with Matt Ritchie on 15, his double in a 2-1 home win over Wolves in March proving crucial.
Kermorgant’s stunning free-kick opener in a 2-0 victory at Brighton will long remain in the memories of the club’s supporters – as will his charm, engaging personality and humility.
He realised his dream of playing in the Premier League, making seven substitute appearances in the club’s first season in the top flight.
However, the arrival of then-record signing Benik Afobe and the return of Grabban saw Kermorgant’s chances limited.
It was a mark of the man though that, having recently signed a new contract, he was not content to sit on the bench and draw his wage.
At the time, he said: “I want to play. I have still got a few years left in my legs and I don’t just want to train and watch my team-mates play.”
Days later, Kermorgant’s love affair with AFC Bournemouth – a relationship reciprocated by the supporters – came to an end when he joined Reading.
The words of former team-mate Pitman, often a rival for a shirt, perhaps sum up the feeling inside the dressing room: “Yann was a top player and I’m not sure people outside the club gave him enough credit for how good he actually was.”
To Yann – Merci and bonne chance from everyone associated with AFC Bournemouth.
Click here to see a gallery of Yann Kermorgant pictures.