Are Latics Too Small To Attract The Big Names?
Vital Latics are never afraid to give the fans a voice, whatever their point of view, also at Vital Latics we love to support emerging new writers and so it is with great pleasure that I introduce the first article for our site, I hope there will be many more, from Danny McCann, who, now that the transfer window has re-opened, is taking a look at the view that maybe the Latics are too small a club to sign the big names, over to you Danny:
Having monitored various transfer windows over the last few seasons it is safe to say that Wigan Athletic have had remarkably few so called 'big name' signings since their promotion to the Premier League in 2005.
Why is this the case? Does it stem from public perception that they are a small club punching above their weight and therefore have no realistic ambitions of getting any bigger? Or is it due to their location? They are after all surrounded by six other top flight northwest clubs all with a bigger fan base and history. So is it just unfortunate that this traditionally Rugby League stronghold is maybe a less desirable attraction for established Premier League players?
I scrolled through all of Latics' squads since their promotion from the Championship to find players signed that would be regarded as an established Premier League footballer and could only pick a handful.
Arguably there are two standout signings - Emile Heskey and Mario Melchiot. Former England international Heskey had already spent nearly a decade in the top division with Leicester City and Liverpool before joining Latics while Melchiot arrived from Chelsea spending three years at Wigan between 2007 and 2010. The remaining contenders would be ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland and former Blackburn and Liverpool defender Stéphane Henchoz. However, aside from Kirkland, the one thing that links all these players is that they were in the twilight years of their football careers.
In Latics' first season in the Premier League they finished 10th which is quite remarkable considering they were only elected to the football league in 1978. This certainly grabbed the attention of the football world but still Wigan hasn't been able to compete with other clubs in a similar position.
Take this season for example, Queens Park Rangers signed Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Luke Young, all of whom have a wealth of experience in the top flight. Stoke City signed Matthew Upson and Peter Crouch who have not only had many seasons in the Premier League but have represented their country too.
This is proof that recently promoted clubs with relatively low attendance figures can attract these kinds of players. Wigan on the other hand have tended to rely on obscure players from around the world or lower league players who had never played at this level before. Every season they do seem to produce one true talent but fail to keep hold allowing bigger clubs to swoop in - Antonio Valencia and Charles N'Zogbia the most high profile players to have left in recent seasons. Surely Victor Moses will be the next centre of attention amongst many of Wigan's rivals come the end of the season. Will Latics be able to keep hold of their star player for at least one more season or will they continue to cash in?
So ultimately it seems that due to some of the above factors they are a 'smaller' club that are prepared to sell looking more for financial stability. At the same time they don't have the lure to attract established players which may help to stave off the threat of relegation? My bet is they have had a good run but will sooner than later succumb to the drop. Another Martinez miracle will be needed to stay up this season.
Latics and Proud
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