The transfer window is nearly upon us and thoughts turn to how and where we need to strengthen the team.
Owen Coyle had been subject to much criticism from the Wigan fans in terms of tactics and fitness but by and large the players he brought into the squad over the summer have been competent to do what is asked of them at this level.
With our European jaunt now at an end and the new manager’s determination to improve the fitness the majority of the squad should be good enough to deliver on the push for promotion.
In my opinion there are two areas that we need to strengthen; attacking midifeld and strikers and success in these areas will depend upon whether anyone can find the key to the transfer kitty.
On deadline day we sold our main creative outlet in James McCarthy for a substantial fee which may or may not have been earmarked for the manager to spend (or being used to keep the club solvent depending upon your perception).
Yesterday’s game provided amply evidence of our lack of creativity in that for the thirty plus minutes that we had a numerical advantage in manpower,we looked clueless as to how to break down two lines of defence. No one could criticise the commitment of the players on show but with the exception of Gomez down the left , there was very little unorthodox play that was needed to create the spark that would lead to a goal.
Loanee Nick Powell has been the shining light on attack for us this season,creating for others and finishing off moves himself but with rumours that he is heading for a recall back to Man Utd in January,Wigan need to look to a replacement.
Players such as David Vaughan on loan at Forest from Sunderland, Lewis McGugan at Watford and David Lopez at Brighton would probably be within our price range. The alternative is to look to the loan market again and Marc Albrighton’s creativity maybe worth another look at if Rosler could prise him free from The Villians
The other area raising cause for concern is the front line. Fortune and Holt have failed to deliver on the pre season optimism of signing two experienced strikers and have amassed three goals between them, a paltry return. Once again Powell has been the hero, pushed forwards into an unfamiliar attacking role, the youngster hasn’t let Wigan down and will be a major loss if he returns to United.
Strikers are the most expensive commodities on the playing field and once again the target will be determined by the monies made available to spend.
Top of the range would be either a premier league striker who isn’t getting a game but by and large these are reluctant to drop down a division,unless the wrong side of thirty due to reduction in wages. The alternatives are from our fellow contenders within the championship and the most notable is Jordan Rhodes although Rovers would probably want around ten million for the prolific striker, a fee which is almost double Wigan’s record transfer outlay. More realsitic options include Troy Deeney at Watford, David McGoldrick at Ipswich or Lewis Grabbin at Bournemouth,all of whom have proved that they can score goals at this level and are young enough to justify the investment.
Another alternative is to look at players from a lower level in the hopes of picking up a bargain of a player with potential who can develop quickly. Options include Nahki Wells at Bradford who was being linked with a move to Wigan on social media sites yesterday and Callum Wilson at Coventry both of whom are young and have a proven goalscoring record at that level.
Again loanees are an alternative,with Patrick Banford at MK Dons and Marcelo Trotta at Brentford on loan from Chelsea and Fulham respectively expected to be under the microscope. Another possiblity is an extension of the loan spell of Will Keane from Manchester United who hasn’t yet made a mark in his brief experiences at this level.
It may well be that in order to free up transfer funds players may need to be moved on with Ramis, McManaman and McArthur the most saleable assets but it is expected that Rosler will fight hard to retain the quality within the squad,with bit part players such as Espinoza, Dicko and Fyvie the ones most likely to be sat in the departure lounge come the end of January.
All in all it promises to be an interesting transfer window…..again
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