Date:Saturday July 12 2008
Latics fly out to their Austrian training camp this week with several empty seats on the plane following delays and unsuccessful transfers.
The first seat expected to be filled was the one reserved for Amr Zaki a classy forward that Bruce has been chasing for several months.
Bruce flew out to Egypt at the beginning of May and it appeared at the time that a deal had been done and that he would join Latics at the end of May.
This is Latics and nothing ever goes smoothly of course but this on/off deal is exceptional even for the 'tics'.
The latest is that whilst he has re-signed for Zamalek he will join Latics on loan after he has played in two African Nation Club Championship matches.
However given the twists and turns over this deal no one would bet on another twist.
The next has been the long and ultimately frustrating pursuit of Honduran Hendry Thomas.
This deal has fallen through because playing for the Olympic team doesn't count towards FIFA recognition for a work permit.
SB confirms that he had flown half way round the world to sign Hendry and that he was expected to play a key role as a centre midfielder at the club.
With only two other centre midfielders Latics face a race against time to bring one or maybe two midfielders in.
The next project deal was for attacking midfielder Olivier Kapo.
Sources close to the club confirmed that a deal was expected last week but nothing happened.
We now hear that because Latics had struggled to agree a fee with Brum due to us offering a player plus cash rather than the full amount that Olympic Marseille have emerged as favourites to sign him with the carrot of playing in Europe.
Ivan Klasnic was also expected to sign. Benson and Spencer met with him at Euro2008 and once we had been re-assured of his medical capabilities then he would sing for us.
Then Klasnic himself pulls the plug deciding that Wigan is too cold for him and that he was going to go else where.
We have other irons in the fire with a reputed offer for Andy Johnson although we face competition with 'bigger" premier league clubs such as Man City who are looking for a striker to partner their new signing Jo.
With several players such as Skoko, Granqvist, Olembe and Aghahowa already out the door and uncertainty surrounding the future of Boyce, Sibs, Scharner, and Camara the Latics squad is looking seroiusly short on bodies.
With all our attentions and efforts over the last few months seemingly hitting dead ends this is surely an unwelcome distraction fro Steve Bruce as he tries to hone Latics into a viable force in the Premier League.
We are in for a very interesting few weeks
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Date:Saturday July 12 2008
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