more tales from the gossip columns

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Another day, another batch of players linked with moves to Latics. The only strange thing is that they seem a little more realistic this time around. Whilst Jewell may have been looking for players across the globe, it appears that the latest additions to his shopping list are a little closer to home than South Korea. Two of them are currently based in the East Midlands and it doesn’t take much more than a quick glance at the league tables to tell you that they probably don’t have much experience in the top flight, in fact they have none.

First up is Caleb Folan. The Chesterfield striker had been mentioned a week or so ago when Paul Jewell was rumoured to have made the trip to Derbyshire to watch the 24 year old. Folan has 12 goals this season, but his record prior to that hardly gets the juices flowing. If Jewell has scouted the player himself then there would seem to be something in this story, and with the fee likely to be well below the £1 million mark the transfer carries little risk, but there’s little to suggest that Folan is likely to cause too much worry for Premier League keepers.

(Typically for the site but surprisingly for the club, Folan has actually signed for Latics between this article being written and it being published, more will follow later).

Also linked with a move to the JJB is Forest winger Kris Commons. Latics have been linked with the ex-Stoke man previously, but he chose to move to Forest where he became the replacement for Andy Reid. Commons has always looked a decent player, but has not had the impact that his predecessor had at the City Ground. Stories of the diminutive, barrell chested wide man having attitude issues hardly fill you with confidence that he’ll fit in with our fragile squad but again he comes on the cheap with his contract being up in the summer.

Today’s “you’re having a laugh” link is with a man that formed part of Martin Jol’s quantity to find quality approach to shopping last season. Timothee Atouba moved from Spurs to Hamburg for £3 million this summer and, if there is any truth in the stories that he has fallen out with the supporters already, it’s fair to say he has struggled to settle in. Of course we’re only looking at a loan move for the player, but having struggled with the Premier League last season we maybe better off waiting until next June before signing him.

There are definite signs that we’re about to sign someone as another of our promotion team is linked with a move away from the club. Preston are said to be interested in John Filan as a potential replacement for want-away keeper Carlo Nash. Any move would see a recall for Mike Pollitt, currently in exile up in then there hills.

The links with Folan and Commons, both seemingly decent players at their current level, will raise a number of questions for Latics fans. Not least whether Jewell sees then as players who can do a job at this level or has the squad building for next begun already? If they are the only signings we make this month then it would appear to be the latter.
If Jewell is looking to bring them to help turn the season around, then it can only be as squad players. The question then will be whether they can offer more than the players we’ve lost? Teale and Connolly might not have been the most popular players in the squad, but at least they knew the division and knew what the manager wanted from them. To come into our current situation would be a steep learning curve for any player, let alone a relatively young one who’s played most of his football in the lower divisions.

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