As transfer windows go, this one has been fairly quiet for the boys and girls that cover Wigan Athletic. The brief flurry of speculation that is the hallmark of football’s New Year aside, Latics have kept out of the gossip columns and there’s a growing feeling that Bruce may be saving his spending money for the summer.
This feeling is probably rooted in the lack of genuine sounding links, but Bruce’s remarkably early ‘happy with the squad’ statement does little to detract from it. Throw in Andy Gray’s ‘I bumped into Stevie down the pub…’ hint on Sunday that the manager has been pleasantly surprised with the quality in the squad he inherited and you’d be excused for suggesting that we’ll be let off from any last minute panicking this January.
Of course Bruce retains the privilege of playing his ‘should the right player become available’ joker, but that rarely happens mid-season, there days, and it may well take ‘the right offer’ for one of our players to force Latics back into the market.
There’s still a fair chance of that happening. Fulham may have got a flea in their ear over the bid for Paul Scharner, but don’t rule out another tilt in the next week or so. Derby’s interest in Emerson Boyce is another story with staying power, whether it’s got the legs to get over the line will depend a great deal on the reality behind Jewell’s ‘all hope is lost’ comments of the past few days.
Whilst there’s obviously some truth in both of those stories, neither seems to be the most likely move. That honour sits squarely with Jason Koumas.
I wrote in the summer about judging rumours on the way the stories developed and this one now has more than a growing list of buying clubs attached to it. Yesterday’s breaking news opened up Latics interest in a swap deal suggesting that Bruce wanted Blackburn’s Stephen Reid and would be going back to Mark Hughes with an offer involving both players.
To be honest, it seems unlikely, Reid is a good player and one that Hughes has been desperate to get back from injury. A lot will depend on just how much the Welshman wants his man but I’m guessing that a fair bit of cash would have to travel up the M65 with Koumas before this one is a go-er.
Even so, Bruce’s willingness to do a deal points to Koumas’ days being numbered and with other clubs sniffing and Blackburn having a few other players worth a place in Latics’ squad, this is definitely one to watch.
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