The close season transfer window is now officially open and the transfer rumours are already in full flow. It is no exaggeration to say that the transfer rumour mill now turns 24 hours a day, every day in the year. Fans of the Premier League big hitters look forward to seeing who they can sign, but for many latics fans the close season is a time of transfer torment.
The initial transfer Wigan rumours centre around James McCarthy, Charles N’Zogbia, Hugo Rodallega, Ali Al Habsi, Mohammed Diame, Maynor Figueroa and even manager Roberto Martinez all being linked with moves away from the DW Stadium.
While speculation about arrivals includes Pablo Piatti and Hernan Bernadello from Almeria, Cedric Hengbart from Auxerre, Craig Mackail-Smith from Peterborough and Guy Moussi from Nottingham Forest.
The major worry for Wigan fans is that we are seen as an easy target for the bigger teams to take our best players. Yes we often make a sizeable profit on these players but we are then faced with the difficult task of having to replace our star performers with players who cost less. We will have to recruit replacements who may not yet be at the same level as our star performers. We now have to recruit and rebuild the squad every close season.
The implications of all this were seen in the opening two games of last season when a quickly assembled new Wigan team faced Blackpool and Chelsea and were soundly beaten. It takes time to establish the style of play and to build understanding between the players.
Roberto Martinez clearly knows how he wants his teams to play, but if there are significant changes over the summer, we will have to bring in new players who may not have long to settle in before the season starts.
The team had found a rich vein of form towards the end of the season with Charles N’Zogbia scoring five goals in the final six games. Losing him, James McCarthy or in fact any of our star performers will pose Roberto with a significant challenge to replace them.
It will be particularly galling for Roberto and the coaching staff to scout, nurture and develop these players and then to lose them so quickly.
Latics have a wage structure and relatively small transfer budget, yet some of our fans don’t seem to understand that we cannot match the huge wage demands of players and their agents. So we continue to be an easy target for the Premier League teams with big budgets.
Some Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United players are now on £250,000 a week. There is massive wage inflation in the Premier League, with even some journeymen players demanding six figure salaries. The temptation for players to move should not be underestimated.
It would be nice if, after the tension and excitement of the final games of the season, the close season could be a relaxing experience. But the constant tirade of rumours via the TV, Internet, Twitter, Facebook and other social media mean that it is impossible to escape the speculation and the fear that we will be losing our best players or even our manager.
Unfortunately there is very little we as Wigan fans can do, but watch on the sidelines as the transfer madness unfolds.