From The Big Money Flops to Successful Deals: Examining Wigan Athletic’s Transfers

For season after season Wigan Athletic has overcome the difficulties of remaining in top flight English football. The success of this fairytale story has heavily relied upon chairman Dave Whelan. The Wigan chairman has expressed an interest in stepping down at the age of 75 and handing the reins to grandson David. Needless to say for continuing success, the buying and selling of unproven players is a must if the club is going forward with no uncle Whelan to lean on. Wigan has backed the right players on several occasions, helping keep the dream alive, which is somewhat understandable. When a player is brought to the Premier League and takes the plaudits, then it is an almost certainty bigger clubs will swoop in for those players with big money offers.

On the other end of the balance sheet we Wigan supporters have the flops who can really sink a small club as there is no room for passengers in a squad. Unfortunately some of Wigan’s biggest money signing have all fell into the category of “flop”.

Wigan’s Most Successful Deals

Player Bought For Sold For Profit
Charles N’Zogbia £6,000,000 & Ryan Taylor £9,500,000 Arguably no money profit due to the inclusion of Ryan Taylor but not a bad deal for a player in the last year of his contract. Worth his left leg in gold whilst playing, helping hugely in one of football’s great escapes.
Luis Antonio Valencia Undisclosed- around £5 million £16,000,000 Around £11,000,000 profit on a well grounded star, proved to be a great asset on the pitch and financially.
Jimmy Bullard    £275,000 £2,500,000 Playmaker of the most successful Wigan side to date and almost a 10 fold profit- not the biggest numbers but definitely worth a mention! £2,275,000 profit.
Lee Cattermole       £3,500,000 £6,000,000 A true servant of Steve Bruce and a good workhorse whilst playing at Wigan. £2,500,000 profit.
Leighton Baines      Youth £6,000,000 A “failed” Liverpool youth player who joined low down in the Wigan ranks. Baines came through the leagues with Wigan and was a valuable member to the team for the full duration. Sold to Everton for a cool £6,000,000 having cost nothing.
Wilson Palacios    £1,000,000 £12,000,000 The best holding midfielder to put on a Wigan shirt- which is backed by the huge profit of £11,000,000 for Palacios.
Nathan Ellington   £1,200,000 £3,000,000 Nathan Ellington aka “the duke” will go down in Latics’ folklore as a striker that propelled the little town team up the leagues. £1,800,000 profit made on the lower leagues star.
Pascal Chimbonda   £500,000 £4,500,000 Chimbonda did not leave Wigan in the best fashion having handed in a transfer request whilst still kitted up. Pascal got his transfer and Wigan profited by £4,000,000.

Big Money Flops

Player Price Tag Description of Player’s Time At Wigan Athletic
Mauro Boselli £6,500,000 Wigan’s most expensive player signed from Estudiantes de La Plata. Boselli has one goal for Wigan having signed two years ago yet is on loan for the second consecutive season and at his previous employers. Still two years on his contract but it is safe to say Mauro Boselli is a big money flop.
Jason Koumas £5,300,000 Koumas never got out of first gear at Wigan. Blame the failure of the Welshman on the lack of first team opportunities or the fact his time came under three different managers, but it remains Koumas was a flop. Released from service at the end of last season and remains a free agent
Marlon King £4,000,000 King signed for a three and a half year deal following a failed Fulham medical-a sign of things to come? He was signed in January 2008 and loaned that summer to Hull FC. King was returned to Wigan early due to unacceptable behaviour  and shipped back on loan in January 2009 to Middlesbrough. Returning again to Wigan in the summer of 2009 King was a benchwarmer at best. King was sacked in October 2009, following his conviction and sentencing on serious criminal charges. Chairman Dave Whelan was somewhat disgraced by the player.
Olivier Kapo £3,500,000 Kapo was a player of the Steve Bruce era. During his 2 years and 20 appearances managed to score once. His contract was mutually terminated in August 2010.

Looking Forward

Looking on toward more successful years, Wigan need to continue bagging the right players and making a substantial profit on them. It is safe to say that given the nature of top flight football, in the current day, money really matters and realistically a boring mid-table season for Wigan is an achievable target but also a limit. Current players that could really boost the bank include the likes of James Mccarthy, Victor Moses and even £4,000,000 goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

Worryingly, Wigan could miss out on cashing in for star striker Hugo Rodallega, with him currently in the last year of his contract. Hugo has been out of form for most of the present season having not scored a goal since the header against Stoke which kept Wigan in the Barclays Premier League. With January not showing much in terms of transfer action, it is likely that Hugo will go for free at the end of the season. The double edge sword that is the Hugo contract saga has left Wigan shutting off contract talks. This dicey move was made in the hope of helping the Colombian hit man to focus on scoring some goals.

Mohamed Diame is another torment for Wigan. His contract expires in the summer and despite transfer speculation of an offer coming during this period there is still none to date. On a more positive note Diame is in contract talks with Wigan. The resulting contract may not lead to much longer at the club but will at least stop Wigan from losing him for free.


  1. James January 15, 2012
  2. US Stoke Fan January 15, 2012
  3. trickybrkn January 15, 2012
  4. Pietro Romeo January 16, 2012
  5. FootballTalk January 16, 2012
  6. Jack Lyden January 16, 2012
  7. Dave Whelan February 29, 2012
  8. Susceptible Emilio April 5, 2013

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