Ye gawds, Latics are among the early movers and Shakers in the summer transfer market. Today’s two signings may not rock everyone’s boat, but you can see where the manager is coming from with both of them and at least there’s now a fighting chance that we’ll have 11 first teamers to take the field by the time pre-season starts.
For obvious reasons, the signing of Titus Bramble is the one that’s taken most of the attention so far. Opposition fans are taking great joy in Latics taking on a centre half that appears to have a shorter attention span than a goldfish with a taste for skunk and you can sort of see their point.
Tipped for the top during his time at Ipswich, Bramble’s £5 million switched to Newcastle has been beset by a large number of costly errors. He’s not the first defender to go to pieces when placed in sniffing distance of the Tyne but he’s come under increasing scrutiny in recent times as people try to understand just why the Geordies aren’t as good as they perhaps should be.
Just like one of our current mob, Bramble has all the attributes to be a good centre half, but has struggled with applying them. If his game has been affected by the pressure in the North East we could have signed a good one. Even if it hasn’t, Titus is just about young enough to still talk of potential and interest from Birmingham and Pompey suggest that a couple of people who know the odd thing about defending see something in the lad, providing we can coach him right, maybe he can realise that in Wigan.
Apparently Hutchings has taken advice from Bobby Robson before signing the defender and, providing he got the names right, he rates him both as a player and as a person. The jury may be out on this one, but that’s a pretty high recommendation. We might be alright if we can keep Fitz Hall out of the same team.
Following Bramble down the A1(M) is Antoine Sibierski. Whilst it looks as if Bolton were also interested in the midfielder come striker the bigger surprise is that he is represented by ‘that Scots fellow’ whose name was already mud ahead of the Chimbonda incident last May. We weren’t supposed to be dealing with him again, but then again that sort of consistency is usually beyond Latics.
With McCulloch looking likely to be out of the door before August, Sibierski provides an almost like for like replacement. He’s strong, good in the air, not creative enough to be a true winger or sharp enough to be a striker. To be fair he probably comes with a bit more skill than the Scot and a whole lot more top flight experience.
Chris Hutchings could have done a lot worse with his first forays into the transfer market. After all Newcastle’s cast offs have to be a step up from Crystal Palace’s. Sibierski carries a lot less stigma than, say, Kevin Kilbane and as for Bramble, well I’ll leave the last word to all those people who laughed at our signing of Emile Heskey, if Titus can defend as well as the striker did on the last day them he’ll do alright.
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