Charles N’Zogbia joins the 92 club

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Yes you heard that right, our mercurial Frenchman has been spotted at such outposts as Carlisle and Exeter hiding behind sunglasses and a snorkel Parka in a desperate bid to achieve his childhood dream of attending a match at every football club in the top four stages of the league pyramid. Well no, not quite, that would be ridiculous, because for one, he’d be totally reliant on public transport due to his ahem, difficulties fulfilling the theoretical elements of his driving test but also because he’s a footballer in demand.

 

And that in itself, there is absolutely no harm in it. Charlie has had an exceptional season for the Latics, contributing some spectacular goals and dribbling skills par excellence whether out on either wing or ‘in the hole’. Does anyone else get the urge to sing The Wire theme tune when they use that awful phrase? Just me then. Anyway, a star player in a struggling bottom half side is always going to attract interest, particularly when he’s reaching the end of his contract but is there any need whatsoever for the media scrum to report him with every cash rich club in the Northern Hemisphere? Oh and Everton.

 

Ah yes, you get the title now. From memory, I can recall since the end of the season he has been linked with all of the following by all these ten bob transfer rumour websites which have popped up to the extent that I’ve even run a sweep on how many clubs he will be linked with:

 

Sunderland

Newcastle

Liverpool

Arsenal

Juventus

Everton

Man United

Marseille

 

Of course when Ashley Young moves to United, he will inevitably get linked to Villa and when Spurs sell Modric, which isn’t happening – no of course it isn’t – the same lazy guttural press, anonymous web hacks will no doubt seek to link N’Zogbia with Tottenham. Throw in a couple more random Spanish or French clubs and we’ll be upwards of fifteen before you know it and how many bids will actually come in. Probably just the one.

 

I don’t however expect Birmingham to try and sign him this transfer window however. Let’s be honest when we’re trying to put a price on Charles, there’s no better indicator than how our team’s respective seasons went. There is an argument that had Birmingham paid Charlie the extra ten grand a week he wanted (or whatever) they might have stayed up and we could have gone down, if you can conclude that Charles is worth three points a season, which I think when you assess Wigan Athletic’s season he certainly is – you only have to look at his influence in the West Ham and Blackpool games.

 

When you judge the cost of relegation versus the financial rewards of staying up, then it is quite conceivable that a price of £20-£25m could be put on N’Zogbia’s head and it is irking a lot of people that the price being touted (again by the same guttural media – no-one from the club has officially stated the selling price) is as low as £8-9m, very low when compared to say £20m for Jordan Henderson or Phil Jones.

 

However, Charles is in the last year of his contract and if he does stay at Wigan Athletic then he can leave for nothing at the end of the season. Whereas again it was a masterstroke by Whelan* to keep him in January as ‘Zoggy’ as the silly old duffer likes to call him chipped in with some crucial contributions and goals, we do have to get on with life without him. He is already rumoured to be a top end wage earner and like it or not, two solid years for us is seen as a lifetime in the precocious short career of a millionaire footballer these days.

 

*and it’s not often you’ll hear me say that

 

I don’t think any Wigan Athletic fans want him to leave the club but I like to think most of our supporters are much more financially savvy than they were a couple of years ago and recognise that far from bemoaning the loss of Palacios, Cattermole, Valencia et all before him, selling a player like Charles is a necessity in order to maintain any kind of financial stability. The key is to sell one player like that for a healthy profit once a season and try and use the money to bring in three raw recruits of whom one or maybe two will follow the same path. Maybe that is already in train with Victor Moses chomping at the bit on the sidelines.

 

As for Charlie, well if he leaves now, then he’ll go with our good wishes I’d like to think. He will of course have to tread carefully as many a footballer has left Wigan Athletic and considered it a step up only for their career to flounder. At a bigger club, the team will not be built around young Charles, Charles will have to be part of a team and Charles will have to perform week in, week out in front of those massive clubs with their massive fanbases. He’s got the ability but then he’s also had the freedom to express his ability here at Wigan Athletic, he may have to conform to a more rigid team structure at a bigger club with bigger personalities and other, more talented players than him. It all depends on where he goes as well obviously but much of the above applies to most clubs, some aspects more than others.

 

Now I know some people love the whole gossip and transfer rumour monging thing but I hate it as should be evident in the above, I’d be happy like back in the good old days reading the transfer gossip on BBC Teletext once a day, when the first you knew of a new signing was a small column on the back page of the Wigan Rugby Post. But to be honest it breaks my literary heart when I log on to NewsNow and see a dozen identikit stories from the usual awful suspects ‘N’Zogbia linked with Blyth Spartans’ ‘N’Zogbia wants to leave’ as there are some great blogs and websites across the WAFC community which we all like to read and they don’t deserve to get swamped by repetitive, copy and pasted b**locks about our players. There’s nothing the media, mainstream and internet likes better than to unsettle the players and fans of Wigan Athletic though so I don’t see anything changing in the short term. Why even Titus Bramble is at it on Twitter.

 

I suppose if we get excited about other potential players coming into our club then we have to reap what we sow and accept it. I can’t be the only one wanting someone to come in with a serious, decent bid, preferably a club that does represent a step up and not one which has a chance of wriggling round in lower mid-table/relegation with us next year so that we can all move on from this?

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