12th Man – New Year new Wigan Athletic?

DW Stadium

DW Stadium

This week Latics released their financial results for the year ended 31 May 2017, which showed a net profit of £4.3 million. This demonstrates that they are in a relatively good financial position compared to many other Football League clubs.

However, the next challenge is to secure the additional resources to enable the club to compete at a higher level.

It is now clear that the Whelan family is no longer prepared to finance the large sums required to compete in the Championship, so outside investment looks inevitable.

All the current indications are that a takeover is likely to go ahead. Talks are at an advanced stage with the K8 consortium and it is expected that it will go through if the club can get Football League approval.

If this is the case, the January transfer window could provide a strong indicator of the future ambitions of the football club.

Paul Cook has done well to assemble a talented squad on limited expenditure, which looks capable of securing automatic promotion.

However if extra resources are available, he will certainly not want to lose any key players and will want to add more quality during this transfer window.

Leading goal scorer and top wage earner Nick Powell has attracted interest from Aston Villa and media reports suggest that they have already offered in the region of £1.5m, although Powell is valued at over £5m.

The mercurial Powell has been crucial to Latics’ success and Cook would be reluctant to lose him at this stage of the campaign. Whether the club can resist an increased offer is likely to depend on the takeover going ahead.

If resources are available Cook will want to add that extra quality and a striker and a winger are likely to be high on his wishlist.

Latics are reported to have made an ambitious bid for Sunderland striker James Vaughan. Although Vaughan has struggled to score goals with the Black Cats, the former England Youth international scored 24 goals for Bury during 2016/17 and featured in the League One Team of the Year.

Latics have also reportedly made a £300,000 bid for 24-year-old Hearts winger Jamie Walker. The Scottish Under 21 international was voted Hearts Player of the Year in 2016/17 and he has been the subject of transfer interest from Glasgow Rangers.

As the club look to strengthen there are also likely to be outgoings, with several fringe players currently out on loan that could be released or transferred.

There will, of course, be plenty of speculation about incomings and outgoings in the next month or so, but I expect Latics to be in a stronger position by the end of this window.

Latics will be looking to cause an upset tomorrow in the FA Cup 3rd Round at AFC Bournemouth as they seek to follow in the footsteps of the historic FA Cup winning team of 2013.

This January could prove to be hugely significant in the history of Wigan Athletic. It is an exciting time for everyone associated with the club. Latics sit at the top of the League One table with a top manager, potential new owners, new investment and some significant new signings in the pipeline.

This article was first published in the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 5th January 2018.

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About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Dave Whelan, K8, League One, Paul Cook, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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