The big shop

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The clock is ticking on the transfer window and Latics fans are brewing up for that final 24 hours worth of speculation. It’s about that time where Jewell would make one of his twice yearly enquiries about Dean Windass and, although a bid for the aging lump seems unlikely this time around, last night’s result suggests that it might not be such a bad thing after all.

Of course I’m not being serious, whether getting knocked out of the League Cup was down to attitude, application or practice the one excuse we can’t use is ability. The team against Hull may have seen eight changes from the side that played West Ham but each and every one of them has been signed to be a Premier League player and, although you’re allowed some reservations, together they should make, at the very least, a good Championship side.

That’s not to say that there’s no room for improvement in the squad and Chris Hutchings will no doubt be looking to bring in one or two new faces (it’s always one or two) before midnight on Friday.

The only solid rumours are around the left back position. Celta Vigo’s Diego Placente is available on the cheap and the Argentinean international has allegedly been training with Latics this week. I’m not sure what benchmark will be used to decide whether he is good enough (as they say, owt is better than nowt) and can only assume that personal terms and the like are holding the deal up.

If that deal falls through, or maybe even if it doesn’t, another move for Paul Robinson is possible. He’s already agreed to leave Ramsey Street, sorry West Brom and, but for medical reasons, would have been a Latics player by now. If a way can be found around his missing knee then there’s every possibility that the deal will be revived.

The final options at left back seem to be Erik Edman, the Swede is currently playing at Rennes and Matt Hill from Preston. A few clubs have been linked with the pair and, for obvious reasons, Latics have been included in the list.

With Spurs having already decided that Edman isn’t good enough, the cynic in me wants to say that we’ll probably end up with him, but I suppose that Placente is the most obvious choice. He wouldn’t be the first Argentinean left-back on Latics books, and anyone who remembers Gino Padula’s time at the club will remember the benefits that brought for West Stand regulars.

Elsewhere, the need for players, and obvious targets are less clear. If only because of the African Nations Cup (although there are a variety of other possible reasons) we need a striker. Nuno Gomes and Rob Hulse have been mentioned, but the rubber ball in this department is Darius Vassell.

The first link with Vassell came during City’s brief interest in Leighton Baines (about the time that we said we weren’t interested in signing their left back if you remember) and he’s bounced back into view on a regular basis since. It’s not a signing that fills me with glee, but we’ll have to wait and see. Latics need the numbers and time is running short. Vassell might not guarantee goals, but if the money is right then he could make an acceptable panic/stop gap signing.

Finally there’s the midfield and the possibility of a renewed interest in Papa Diop. The Fulham man rejected Latics as a bad option back in January, but, not being Irish, he’s a little more desperate this time around. He’d possibly be a good signing but the fact that he wasn’t prepared to join our relegation battle doesn’t bode well on the attitude front.

Then again, our list of central midfielders is getting as long as Spurs’ and it’s the flanks where Latics look a little light. Chris Brunt’s name has been mentioned a few times this summer, although Hutchings discounted a move a month or so back, the lad looks a decent prospect.

So there are the options and suggestions this week strongly suggest that a left back a striker will be on board before bed time on Friday. I’d predict 4 signings with at least two of them not being mentioned in this article, but my predictions are usually worthless.

The way I see it is that a left back is essential and two would be nice. Anything else would be adding to an already decent squad. We’ve seen in the past that squad size can be a massive issue, but usual in the second half of the season, and any last minute ‘bargains’ could prove unnecessary. If there’s money to spend then Chris Hutchings may be better off waiting until the January window.

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