Wigan Athletic today welcome their fourth signing of the January window as Spurs’ promising Swiss international, Reto Ziegler, joined on loan until the end of the season. This signing provides a double boost for the club as not only does it bring in a bona fide left sided midfielder, it allows Lee McCulloch to undergo an operation that otherwise may have seen him play with injury until the end of the season. The signing also raises questions over what Jewell’s first choice midfield is likely to be for the rest of the season.
Ziegler’s signing was first mooted last week whilst he was still on loan at Bundesliga challengers SV Hamburg. At the same time Spurs fans were recommending a recall for the player who started 23 times for them last season and was seen by many as a solution to their ‘problematic’ left hand side. Sky Sports reported Ziegler’s recall at the weekend but the news didn’t feature highly on Tottenham sources which boded well for the Latics.
Ziegler, who can play at either full back or in midfield is six foot tall making him an obvious replacement for McCulloch but also has the advantages of pace and more pertinently a left foot. Presuming he becomes first choice we should see a balance to the side that has hardly been their since Jewell’s first experiments with Lee in midfield. The young Swiss player has points to prove on two points, more immediately to his international coach as he pushes for a place in the world squad, and in the long term to Martin Jol that he is worth a place in Spur’s first team.
With David Thomson taking up the unfamiliar left wing role at Boro it seems clear that Jewell has other plans for the ex-Blackburn player and the question is what those are. The obvious thing would be a straight swap for Teale. A move that would be popular with some sections of the crowd but would see arguably our most in-form player take a seat on the bench. Arguably this would benefit the team as the Scot is someone who can be let loose as a sub to cause problems, rather than forcing him into a more retracted midfield role that he at times struggles with, but what would it do to his already fragile confidence?
Another option would be to play Thompson in a central role, ok he’s not the tallest but he can certainly mix it with the best of them and would certainly provide better quality passing that either of the current options. Thompson’s tendency to get forward makes Bullard the more likely to make way, however he is seemingly our most coveted asset (or at least our most linked player) and all those consecutive appearances hardly suggest that Jewell is looking to replace him. If asked before these signings I would have said that Kavanagh was the player least likely to make it to the end of January, and even suggested that, in Paul Scharner, we’d already signed his replacement. There’s a possibility now that Thommo will have that pleasure.
Whatever happens, these decisions indicate one thing. The signings that we’ve made so far this month have added to the squad, not just in numbers, but in quality and that can only be a good thing.
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