12th Man – Will hectic transfer window deliver results?


Highly-rated striker Omar Bogle. Photograph courtesy of Wigan Athletic.

The January transfer window proved to be even more hectic than usual. It was always expected that the new manager Warren Joyce would want to bring in his own signings but the turnover this time has been unprecedented.

Latics brought in an improbable eight players on deadline day and fourteen in the window overall.

Joyce and his recruitment team have generally gone for young players with a high work rate and who are capable of improving.

The Manchester United connection is a strong one with many of the signings having played under Joyce before.

The manager has perhaps gone a little over board on the recruitment of midfielders, so the fight for a starting place in the centre of the team should provide fascinating viewing.

Fitness could be a problem for some of the deadline day recruits.

Loanee Alex Bruce signed from Hull City has not played all season due to an Achilles problem and he along with former Manchester United and Newcastle winger Gabriel Obertan may not be ready for first team action.

Some of the other young players may not yet be ready to make the step up to the high-pressure atmosphere of the Championship.

Midfielder Josh Laurent, 21, who joined from Hartlepool United, striker Mikael Mandron, 22, signed from Non-league Eastleigh, Midfielder James Weir, 21, who signed on loan from Hull City and midfielder Jack Byrne, 20, from Manchester City, may all have to wait for first team opportunities.

However, I expect highly-rated striker Omar Bogle, 23, signed from Grimsby Town to be thrust into the first team squad for tonight’s fixture against play-off contenders Sheffield Wednesday.

Latics will need more goals if they are to survive the drop and they will be hoping that Bogle can continue the form he showed at Grimsby, where he scored 19 goals in 30 games.

Experienced keeper Matt Gilks, 34, signed from Glasgow Rangers on deadline day could also come into the squad for tonight’s game.

As far as deadline day outgoings were concerned, the most controversial transfer business was Yanic Wildschut’s last minute departure to Norwich City for a reported £7.5m.

The Dutch winger had been very much part of Warren Joyce’s plans but the player couldn’t resist the opportunity of an improved salary at Carrow Road.

However, the club at least made a significant profit on the deal having signed Wildschut from Middlesbrough for around £1m only 12 months ago.

It was sad to see fans favourite and FA Cup winner Jordi Gomez move back to Spain to join Rayo Vallecano, but it seemed that Gomez just didn’t fit into Joyce’s plans for the club.

Overall it was a positive transfer window with some marquee signings, some promising young recruits and a few experienced older heads arriving.

The big challenge now is for Joyce and his coaching team to blend the new players into an effective unit that can escape relegation.

This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 3rd February 2017.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Alex Bruce, Championship, Gabriel Obertan, Jack Byrne, James Weir, Josh Laurent, Matt Gilks, Mikael Mandron, Omar Bogle, Sheffield Wednesday, Transfers, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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