Building a defence

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One I remember as a hot prospect who couldn ‘t break into Newcastle ‘s defence (!!?!?!) the other I have vague recollections of being linked with a year or so back. Both of Latics ‘ latest signings might come with unknown quantity labels but equally both bring competition to what, so far, has probably been the most comfortable “units” of Roberto Martinez ‘s squad. Throw the new keeper in as well and any threats along the lines of “pull your socks up or else…” might actually carry some weight down at Christopher Park.

Over the past couple of days I ‘ve seen Gary Caldwell described as a stalwart, a leader and been told on any number of occasions that he was voted the Scottish player of the season by more than one body last season. I ‘ve also been told that he ‘s an arrogant, good for nothing who thinks he ‘s better than he is and is sure to bring down any defensive lines that he is thrust into. Who are you going to believe?

I ‘m sticking on the optimistic side. The root of the Celtic fans’ ire seems to be his contract dispute with the club and their reports of his abilities are at odds with his honour laden last year, international caps and status as captain. He should be enough at least to make Boyce and Bramble think about their positions and if all he achieves is to make those to buck up and shut up shop then he ‘s done a good job. A four and a half year contract suggests that Bobby has more faith in him than that, it ‘ll be interesting to see just how much faith he has and how soon he ‘s prepared to back it.

Steve Gohouri is another matter; the club announced his signing with a “go” pun, a “who?” one may have been more appropriate. Yes the lad ‘s an Ivory Coast international, but caps against Mauritius and Madagascar sound about the same as getting them against Andorra and San Marino, I don ‘t know why no more since, but he doesn ‘t seem to be bothering Kolo Toure right at this moment, does he?

It won ‘t help that he ‘s not played this season after, wait for it, a dispute with his previous club Borussia Munchengladbach. That saw him demoted to the stiffs and ultimately binned in December. What was the dispute over? I don ‘t know, but maybe his head was turned by interest from other clubs, rumoured to include Arsenal, had turned his head. Hopefully that ‘s true and we ‘ll end up making comparisons to his compatriot.

If that happens then his six-month contract could make us look daft, the fact that he ‘s only got that long suggests it ‘s more a case of him having to prove himself.

So Bobby ‘s shopping starts in the most obvious place for a team with the worse goal difference in the League, the first signings might not be enough to fill everyone with immediate confidence, but defence isn ‘t just about the back four anyway. You have to assume that the work continues apace, behind the scenes, and that more shopping is yet to be done. In the meantime a big “how do” to Gary and Steve, good luck and may Arjan De Zeeuw travel with you during your time with Wigan Athletic.

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