King Kone

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Anyone know how Mauro Boselli is getting on at Palermo? More to the point does anyone care? It’s still a subject of considerable consternation amongst most Wigan Athletic fans that we paid a reputed £6.5m for an Argentinian who has barely played for the club. It wasn’t exactly Roberto Martinez’s finest ever piece of business and at least he’s dispensed with the old “Mauro can still do a job here” comments now as his contract must be coming to an end soon. Fingers crossed.

It isn’t an easy job though finding a player who can score goals in the Premier League on a budget though. Even if your budget is over six million quid. I don’t know if anyone has ever mentioned it but Swansea managed to pick up that Michu chap on the cheap but that is very much the exception to the rule. I would also admit to getting it wrong and scoffing at Sunderland paying £12m for Steven Fletcher but the Scot proved to be their key source of goals up until recently and now he’s been ruled out for the season they may be really struggling.

What price guarantees goals though? And of course centre forwards can command the biggest wages of the lot so when you have a structure to keep to, it’s all the more difficult. We’ve had a string of disappointments from Julius Aghahowa to Marcelo Moreno to Jason Scotland to Marlon King who have all failed to trouble the onion bag much during their spells at the club but finally and crucially we have a man for when it matters.

I’d always maintain that a player who can get in double figures for Wigan Athletic in the Premier League is as good as a forward who can score 20 goals in a lower league or for a top half Premier League side as there are fewer games and fewer chances. Add into the mix that Arouna Kone has achieved this before the end of March and whilst having a month off at the African Nations Cup and it truly has been an impressive debut season for the Ivorian.

The only trouble is, as Wolves found with Fletcher is that if you have a player who can score goals in the top flight other teams will quickly pick them off and attempt to poach them. However, I actually think the ANC worked in our favour as he was off other club’s radar during the January window, barely played in the African cup – so fatigue wasn’t an issue – and returned fresh and hungry to score goals but also work tirelessly as a hold up man. He’s also nearly 30 years old which also makes him a slightly less attractive prospect so the future might be as bright as his hair for both Wigan and Kone if he can continue this rich vein of form.

Let’s also give Martinez credit for picking out a gem from La Liga and maybe, just maybe it’s time for some of the fans to forgive him for his Argentinian faux pas. Mauro who?

First published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column Wednesday 3rd April 2013

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