Date: 2nd September 2017 at 2:07pm
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Wigan Athletic are in talks with North Korean authorities over the possibility of signing one of the country’s international defenders, according to ‘Voice of Korea’ (www.vok.rep.kp) and a source in Beijing.

The extraordinary transfer speculation follows Paul Cook’s men falling short on bringing in an extra defender during the transfer window. In accordance with EFL rules, no club can sign any contracted player until January – leaving Latics with very limited options.

Cook is reluctant to allow the likes of Luke Burke and Donervon Daniels to sit on the bench this season, instead insisting that they need regular first team football.

Ri Yong-chol has emerged as the main name that Latics are interested in bringing to the DW Stadium. Yong-chol has played in over 25 matches for North Korea’s national team (including friendlies and fixtures not recognised by FIFA).

The 26-year-old is known for his ability to play across the back four and while often used as a central defender when on international duty, he is regularly used at right back for his club side.

He came up against former Tics winger Callum McManaman when North Korea faced England at the Under 20 World Cup in 2011. The match finished 0-0, with Lee Nicholls an unused substitute.