Wigan’s Transfer ProgressBy: Nick | July 17th, 2010
With just less than one month until the Premier league season begins, Wigan have already made some serious inroads in bolstering their thin squad having signed three top class players in three different positions. Immediately after the 09/10 season concluded it was clear that Wigan’s defence was a key concern. Roberto Martinez swooped for Paraguayan defender Antolin Alcaraz, who he hoped would halt the consistent amount of goals that hit the back of the Latics’ net. When I heard this news, at first I was a little concerned, as Alcaraz was largely unheralded and did not seem up to a Premier league standard. However, then I thought about all the other little known players that have flourished at this club, such as Palacios, Figueroa, Rodallega and even Zaki to an extent. What further boosted my confidence in Alcaraz was his playing time in the recent World Cup, where he started almost every game and even managed to score one of Paraguay’s goals. Paraguay progressed to the quarter finals, something that has never been achieved by the country and some credit must go to Alcaraz (plus all their other defenders). In recent times Alcaraz has hinted that he may not even stay at Wigan, due to much speculation from other clubs. It would be a major blow if he was not able to honour at least one season of his contract.
Soon after this transfer, exciting South American striker Mauro Boselli was brought in, which in my opinion was a very positive move. Boselli has spent his entire playing career in the Argentinian league, first at Boca Juniors and then moving to championship winning Estudiantes. This league has nurtured some of the finest players in the world and its style of play is highly entertaining and very physical. These components draw parallels with the Premier League and hopefully Boselli will not take long to adjust. This season he will look to justify his hefty price tag and if he plays as well as he did for Estudiantes, Wigan will have few problems in the upcoming season. (Boselli scored 32 goals in 57 appearances for Estudiantes)
Finally, Wigan signed Bolton’s reserve keeper and Omar international Ali Al Habsi on a season long loan, which Martinez claimed would provide quality competition for Chris Kirkland. This seems a little modest, as Al Habsi was barely able to crack the first team side in his four year stint at the Wanderers club. Instead it seems highly likely that he was signed as a replacement for the outgoing Kingson and Stojkovic.
What Al Habsi brings is Premier League consistency, because unlike Alcaraz or Boselli, he knows what to expect in the top flight. Although unfortunately for the majority of the season, Al Habsi may be resigned to the bench, if Kirkland gets injured (like last season!) he will get a good run in the side. It would take a lot for him to do worse than Stojkovic in his short stint at the club.
Although three quality transfers have been made, Roberto Martinez needs to spend more if Wigan are to enjoy a comfortable season in the Premier league. If Figueroa, N’Zogbia or indeed Alcaraz are signed, quality replacements need to immediately be made as these players form the backbone of the Wigan side. But so far so good at the Lancashire club.