Sunday, July 27, 2008

The off-season: Wigan Athletic

If Wigan had been relegated last season, I don't think anybody would have missed them. Like Middlesborough, Bolton and Fulham, they have pitiful attendance records and other bigger teams such as Nottingham Forest or Leeds United or areas where they are no Premier League team like the West Country or Yorkshire would pull in more fans. As it is they managed to stay in the Premier League by getting rid of a bad manager (why did anybody think Chris Hutchings would do a good job?) and getting a dire manager who was struggling with his own team, Steve Bruce.

Regarding Birmingham City who were relegated, Bruce has raided his former club for players but hasn't done really much that would satisfy Wigan fans, if there are any. He still needs a major recruitment drive soon, otherwise it will be another tough season for the Latics.

GK: Chris Kirkland, Mike Politt, Carlo Nash

With Politt recently signing an extension, it will look like Nash going as he has been on loan other a few Championship clubs already and will no doubt interest many.

RB: Mario Melchiot, Ryan Taylor

With Emmerson Boyce more likely to shift to centre-back, Bruce will allow Taylor to revert back to his usual role as right-back but to be second choice to Melchiot's experience.

LB: Erik Edman, Martin Figueroa

If Bruce can tie down FIgueroa to a permanent deal, he won't have any issues in this position.

CB: Emmerson Boyce, Paul Scharner, Titus Bramble

Everybody knows what will happen here - Bramble has to leave. He's the worst player to grace the Premier League. He's the reason why we have so many foreign players in the Premiership. After Bruce has finally got rid of Bramble, his main priority is getting a couple of decent centre-backs.

WG: Luis Antonio Valencia, David Cotterill, Daniel de Ridder, Kevin Kilbane, Jason Koumas, Rachid Bouaouzan

With Bruce bringin in de Ridder, Cotterill's days are numbered at the JJB Stadium. Also Bouaouzan will be looking for a new club after doing sod all. There have been rumours of Kilbane and Koumas leaving but that would be suicide by Bruce. They are two exceptional footballers who can keep Wigan in the Premier League.

CM: Wilson Palacios, Michael Brown, Oliver Kapo

After recruiting more players from his old club, I think Bruce will stop here. He may recruit another central midfielder but he has priorities elsewhere.

FW: Antoine Sibierski, Henri Camara, Emile Heskey, Marlon King, Amr Zaki

Only Heskey and new recruit Zaki are guaranteed to at Wigan come August. King has been shopped around despite being recruited in January whilst Camara and Sibierski have fallen out of favour with Bruce. Expect at least anothe forward coming to Bruce's squad in the next few months.


In: 2 x Centre-backs, 1 x Centre-midfielder, 1 x Forward
Out: Nash, Bramble, Cotterill, Bouaouzan, Sibierski, Camara

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