Having come through a run of games where his squad’s shortcomings have been laid bare for all to see, Paul Jewell is expected to be busy during the January transfer window. If tales are to believed, the manager’s shopping has started early with moves for two players being strongly touted in the press.
First up it’s Andreas Granqvist, a 21 year old centre half currently plying his trade in the Swedish League with Helsingborgs. The Swede was a non playing member of his countries world cup squad and by all accounts is a good prospect. Andreas has been linked with a number of English clubs, including Liverpool, but according to reports, yesterday, in Sweden (including on the Helsingborgs internet site) he will join Latics on Monday.
It’s clear that Latics need to strengthen their back line; however whether a 21 year old is the right man for that job is another matter. De Zeeuw’s absence has highlighted the need for leaders at the back. Granqvist has captained his current club, but as Andy Webster has proven, settling into the Premiership isn’t a simple trick.
(Stop press- Just as I’ve come to publish this Latics have confirmed Granqvist’s signing on loan with a view to signing him at the end of the season.)
Elsewhere the rumours about Nathan Ellington persist. If we’re honest, they started the day after he left and most of us stopped listening to them some time ago. However things seem a little different this time around and there may be some truth in them.
Seemingly Jewell attempted more than once during the summer to bring Nathan back to Latics, whether the stumbling block was pig headedness or money it didn’t happen but with a new man in charge and the Duke still out of favour, January may provide the perfect opportunity to strengthen the squad with a player that no one (including himself) seemed to want to leave the club in the first place.
Indications are that there’ll be profit in the deal for Latics and the only concern is whether a player who relies so much on confidence can repair his battered ego and successfully make his way back into what at the moment is a struggling side. Despite his lack of popularity at the Hawthorns there were some signs last season that he may be able to cut it at this level.
Would two signings be enough? I think you’d have to say no. Few can argue that we’re short of options up front and are lacking something at the back, however the midfield are hardly helping out in either department and we need at least another player in the middle of the park. The first job however is to keep the players we’ve got and get them fit. With Arsenal sniffing around Baines and an injury list that grows every day that may prove harder than it seems.
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