Vital Latics member Sheikh_Mahand takes a comprehensive look at the possible transfer targets of our new gaffer, Owen Coyle, over to you Sheikh:
Every transfer window I like to have a look around Europe to see who might be available to improve our team, and offer a few suggestions on who our manager might be looking at. With plenty of free transfers knocking about, there’s a lot of choice: think of this list as a few names to watch out for, to look at a bit more, and you never know some of them might come off.
Chris McCann, formerly at Burnley
This is one transfer that I think will definitely happen. McCann is an all action midfielder, has goals in him but suffered last season from a relatively serious injury, hence his release from Burnley. Coyle knows him, he won`t be too expensive and he`s a solid player. Midfield might not be a particular problem but numbers in the squad will be with so many games. Good signing for nothing.
Martin Paterson, formerly at Burnley
Another player who will know Coyle, he`s played second fiddle to Jay Rodriguez and Charlie Austin for most of his time at Burnley. His contract is up this summer and it doesn`t look like he`ll re-sign, so I can see him heading our way. Can play up front or out wide, and still young enough to improve.
John Bostock, formerly at Spurs
One of the most promising young players in England when Spurs signed him from Crystal Palace, he`s just been released. Never got a chance at Tottenham, but he`s only 21 and has plenty of time to find his best form again. A creative midfielder who can play in behind the striker, he`d be a very astute free transfer.
Lewis McGugan, formerly at Nottingham Forest
If you`ve seen a long-range screamer scored by a Forest player, it was probably McGugan who hit it. Eye for the spectacular, solid Championship player and costs nothing. Not a bad combination.
Alex Baptiste, formerly at Blackpool
A player we`ve been linked to in the past, a versatile defender who`s just been let go by Blackpool. Another cheap option for some decent squad depth. Looked a little out of his depth in the Premier League, but should be solid enough in the Championship.
Kevin Davies, formerly at Bolton
I don`t particularly want this to happen at all, but Coyle used him a lot at Bolton and he`s on a free transfer. It looks fairly likely that he`ll cross his mind at some point.
Eric Lichaj, formerly at Aston Villa
A centre back or full back with a decent amount of experience in the Premier League behind him. Not so old, a full USA international as well. Also – has a massive long throw in.
Chris Baird, formerly at Fulham
A very versatile player, having filled in at right back, centre back and in midfield for Fulham, he`s a Northern Ireland international with 61 caps. Solid and dependable, to me he would be an astute signing with so many games to be played this season.
Danny Wilson, formerly at Liverpool/Hearts
Another one who I`ve brought up in the past, he was originally released by Liverpool before joining Hearts – although their financial problems mean he hasn`t actually been registered with them, hence he`s still available on a free transfer. Highly rated at Rangers, he`s tall, elegant and good on the ball. Left footed as well, which may add some balance to the back line. I`d recommend him highly.
Danny Simpson, formerly at Newcastle
Supposedly on the verge of a move in January to Wigan, Newcastle have released him this summer. Full back who attacks probably better than he defends, he may not want to drop down a division but he could fill a spot in the team for very little outlay.
DJ Campbell, formerly at QPR
Scored goals at Championship level before, although he is getting on a bit at 31. Probably will be cheap enough, but expect plenty of competition for his signature.
Alex Pearce, formerly at Reading
Big Irish centre back with a goal in him, I think Reading are letting him go this summer. No idea why as he`s a decent player, and was their player of the year the season before last.
Matthew Upson, formerly at Stoke
Fairly well known centre back, not the quickest but an intelligent defender. Showed he was willing to drop down a division when he joined Brighton on loan for the tail end of last season.
Jermaine Pennant, formerly at Stoke
We`ve come close to signing him before, maybe this time we should go through with it? Well-known attitude problems, was terrible on loan at Wolves last season but maybe he wants one last chance to turn his career around. Worth the risk? Probably not, but he is available.
Dean Whitehead, formerly at Stoke
Another player Stoke have got rid of, he typifies an average English midfielder. Might come into his own in the Championship, but maybe one to make up the numbers rather than make the difference.
David Bentley, formerly at Spurs
More attitude problems, lack of desire, no opportunities at Tottenham. But there is a really good player somewhere in Bentley, so if Coyle fancies trying to find the form he showed at Blackburn he could be a bargain. Career has drifted spectacularly in recent years, maybe a chance to rehabilitate himself in the Championship could appeal.
Gonzalo Jara, formerly at West Brom
Versatile right back, a solid performer at Premier League level so could do a job in the Championship. Can also play in midfield, which would be useful given an overloaded schedule.
Thomas Rogne, formerly at Celtic
Norway under-21 international who`s never really nailed down a first-team spot in his three years north of the border. Still, he`s a big unit and very highly rated in Norway, so a free transfer could be some good business.
Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Molde
Another promising young Norwegian, who`s contract runs out this year. Due to the summer calendar of Norwegian football I don`t think he becomes free to move until January, but I thought I`d include him anyway. Creative, bright little forward who used to be with Man Utd. Very versatile, he also scored the third goal as Norway beat England in the under-21 championship the other week.
Bakary Soro, formerly at FC Arles
Another versatile defender, just been let go by Ligue 2 club Arles. Has experience of England too as he was at Charlton as a youngster, although he never made the breakthrough. Maybe a little erratic, but physically very strong.
Nampalys Mendy, formerly at Monaco
A casualty of the ever-expanding list of superstars at Monaco, Mendy popped up last summer as a player I thought we should be looking at. In reality his reputation has increased so much that we don`t have a hope in hell of signing him really, so the best bet would be to ask whoever does sign him for a season`s loan of him. He`s strong, physical but good on the ball, a properly solid midfielder. Top class.
Evander Sno, formerly at NEC Nijmegen
Another combative midfielder, probably best known for his spell at Celtic a few years ago. Decent player, although he does have a heart condition – he`s had two cardiac arrests on the pitch in his career, although he has managed to play on both times after some recuperation. A risk, but we did the same with Diame and he turned out alright. Not as good a player but I think he could probably do a job.
Pablo Aimar, formerly at Benfica
Now it starts to get interesting. He`s probably way out of our league, but the old-new-Maradona has just been released by Benfica. He`s still absolute class, and who knows perhaps he fancies coming to England for one last crack at Europe. He`ll end up back in South America probably, but it`s worth bringing up.
David Albelda, formerly at Valencia
Another fairly exciting one, if you want a leader then Albelda is your man. A bit injury-prone at his age now but still a solid midfielder, could perhaps do a similar job to when Ivan Campo went to Bolton.
Juan Carlos Valeron, formerly at Deportivo
Another little magician, he may be 37 now and leaving relegated Depor but he could definitely do a job in the Championship. Never that quick, with the ball at his feet there`s not much he can`t do.
Riki, formerly at Deportivo
Another player we have been linked with in the past, the former Real Madrid youngster is also on his way out of Deportivo after their relegation. Big and surprisingly strong, he doesn`t score a huge amount of goals but technically sound and won`t cost a great deal.
Juan Forlín, formerly at Espanyol
Argentine defender or midfielder who came to Spain with a big reputation from Boca Juniors. Not the biggest but clever off the ball, although he does have a pretty poor disciplinary record. Likely to move to Southampton I think, given he was popular with Pochettino when they were together at the club.
Marc Muniesa, formerly at Barcelona
A very promising young central defender, Barcelona are letting him go this summer despite a dearth of defenders at the club. Really good prospect, he may well attract bigger and better attention this summer, but worth mentioning as a possible free transfer.
Players under contract:
Kiko Femenía, Barcelona B
Nippy little right winger, who can also play further back as an attacking right back. Highly unlikely to make a breakthrough into the first team at 22, maybe a move to England would do him good.
Hugo Mallo, Celta Vigo
An attacking right back who`s currently recovering from an ACL injury that`s kept him out since January. Very promising, young enough to recover fully from his injury. Spanish clubs in general are in a terrible state, so he shouldn`t prove to be too expensive.
Giovani dos Santos, Mallorca
Yet another name who keeps getting mentioned, but Mallorca have just been relegated and have no money, so maybe finally we could get hold of him. By a mile Mallorca`s best player last year, I`m sure we all know what to expect from him. Will probably cost a little more than some of the other players on this list.
Tomer Hemed, Mallorca
Another relegated player from Spain, although it can`t be blamed on him. An Israeli striker with an eye for goal, he scored 11 times as Mallorca went down. That`s a good record for any striker, especially one who ended up in a relegated team.
Djamel Bakar, AS Nancy
A quick winger, he`s just been relegated to Ligue 2 for next season. Once courted by some of Europe`s top teams and West Ham, he`s lost his way a touch since leaving Monaco three seasons ago. Has all the attributes to do well in England, although he doesn`t score many goals.
Ezequiel Muñoz, Palermo
This might be a bit ambitious, but never mind. Palermo have been relegated, no doubt thanks to the magnificent contribution of Mauro Boselli (8 games, 0 goals). He`s been linked in the past to quite a few top teams, but injuries and Palermo being a bit rubbish have held him back a bit. Still, he`s a very good defender and is only going to get better.
Vladimir Weiss, Pescara
Another who has been linked with Wigan in the past, he`s a member of the Pescara side that has just been relegated to Serie B. Owen Coyle actually signed him on loan at Bolton in 2010, from Man City. I really like him as a player, he`s a top division winger for sure. However maybe Coyle can persuade him to give Wigan a chance in the Championship, he would destroy most full backs in the league.
Out of those there are several who realistically could improve the team and I think would consider a move. Wilson, McCann, Bostock, Baird, Simpson, Mendy and Muniesa would be exceptional signings, as would Weiss and Mallo. If any of those nine players end up in a Wigan shirt then I’d be a very happy man indeed.