With the transfer window closed for the next 122 days speculation surrounding the incomings and outgoings at Wigan Athletic should be quiet for at least the next two weeks!
So what movement was there at the DW Stadium this summer?
Outgoings: Charles N’Zogbia was sold to Aston Villa and Antonio Amaya sold to Real Betis, Mauro Boselli and Roman Golobart allowed to go out on loan to Estudiantes and Inverness CT respectively, Daniel de Ridder left for FC Grasshopper of Zurich and Steven Caldwell dropped a division to join Birmingham City, Tom Cleverley went back to Manchester United following his successful loan spell at the Latics whilst Jason Koumas was released and is still without a club.
Ali Al-Habsi went back to Bolton after his season long loan but returned to the Latics within six weeks.
Losing Charles N’Zogbia relatively early in the window gave Latics boss Roberto Martinez the time and the finance to bring in the player he had identified to replace his talisman of last season. Antonio Amaya never settled into the club and the Premier League looked too fast for the lumbering defender, at least we got some cash back for him. Mauro Boselli looks likely to be sold by the Latics at the end of this season, whilst Golobart will pick up some good experience in Scotland working with Terry Butcher. Caldwell was a good stop gap in his season with the club but we need better, de Ridder too lightweight but good luck to him in Switzerland, Cleverley was always going back to United, mores the pity, as for Koumas, the least said the better.
Incomings: Ali Al-Habsi was signed on a permanent deal from Bolton after a bit of haggling for a fee reported to be around £4 million, Dave Jones joined on a free transfer from Wolves and Nouah Dicko was another player who arrived on a free, the 19 year old winger coming in from French club RC Strasbourg and signing a three year deal. Albert Crusat (£2m) and Shaun Maloney (£1m) were bought from Almeria and Celtic respectively, Patrick van Aanholt was a deadline day loan signing from Chelsea.
Ali Al-Habsi was a must signing, the only quibble was the fee to be paid, establishing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and being named the Wigan Athletic player of the season appeared to put a couple of million pounds on his value. Ever vigilant of the clubs coffers, Latics owner Dave Whelan did his best to haggle Bolton down, in the end it looked the clubs met half way between the £3 million that Latics initially offered and the £5 million that Bolton quoted.
Dave Jones looks to be a great addition to the Latics squad, not a regular starter but a player with good Premier League experience that will undoubtedly bring some quality back up. His former boss at Wolves, Mick McCarthy said on Jones’ leaving ”Whoever gets him will be delighted with him.”, whilst Latics boss Roberto Martinez says: “David is a talented player. He is technically gifted and tactically clever.”
Nouah Dicko is definitely one for the future, a very pacey attack minded player, small in size but great balance and undoubted ability, a year in the development squad should see the young Frenchman start to push for a place in the first team squad.
Albert Crusat would appear the player that Martinez has brought in as a direct replacement for N’Zogbia, Latics have been linked with the 5′ 4″ Spaniard for the past two seasons, he is lightening quick, a good reputation in La Liga for creative play, let’s hope that he settles quickly into Premier League life, he could turn out to be an excellent signing for a bargain price of £2 million
Shaun Maloney’s move from Celtic would appear to give some competition for the attacking midfield spot that was filled so well by Jordi Gomez in last weekend’s game against QPR, Maloney is another creative player, this will be his second spell in the Premier League following a successful stint at Aston Villa that was ended after just 18 months due to Maloney’s inability to settle ‘down south’, the man himself seems excited about joining the Latics though, Maloney says: “As soon as I found out about the move I got excited. The gaffer likes to play the right way and there’s a tremendous squad here full of great potential.”
Patrick van Aanholt’s arrival on deadline day via his loan move from Chelsea was a bit of a surprise, the youngster was thought to be ready to challenge for a squad place at Stamford Bridge but a season at the Latics must have looked more appealing to the young Dutchman than sitting on the bench for the Premier League giants.
The Latics have also added a few youngsters on a permanent basis to the squad this summer, notably former Watford defender Rob Kiernan and ex-Barcelona left back, 18 year old, Jesjua Andrea Angoy Cruyff
Add to the new signings James McCarthy, Ben Watson and Emmerson Boyce committing to new contracts with the Latics and the dealings during the summer have been quite positive, it could be argued that despite the loss of N’Zogbia, the squad as a whole is considerably stronger than this time last year. Another positive was Hugo Rodallega staying put, now all Martinez needs to do is get the Colombia international to put pen to paper on an extended contract and that promise of midtable obscurity just might become a reality.
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