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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

PlayerBought ForSold ForProfit
Charles N’Zogbia£6,000,000 & Ryan Taylor£9,500,000Arguably 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 ValenciaUndisclosed- around £5 million£16,000,000Around £11,000,000 profit on a well grounded star, proved to be a great asset on the pitch and financially.
Jimmy Bullard    £275,000£2,500,000Playmaker 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£6,000,000A true servant of Steve Bruce and a good workhorse whilst playing at Wigan. £2,500,000 profit.
Leighton Baines      Youth£6,000,000A “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£12,000,000The 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£3,000,000Nathan 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£4,500,000Chimbonda 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

PlayerPrice TagDescription of Player’s Time At Wigan Athletic
Mauro Boselli£6,500,000Wigan’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£5,300,000Koumas 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£4,000,000King 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£3,500,000Kapo 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.

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  1. Susceptible Emilio

    April 5, 2013 at 2:00 am

    I hope Wigan blows everybody’s expectations in the years to come with any major trophy.

    There is something good about that small club…

  2. Dave Whelan

    February 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Are Wigan still a Premier League club? I mean, they havn’t really improved since they first got promoted and escaped relegation countless times…

  3. Jack Lyden

    January 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    As a Wigan fan I seriously hope we can hold onto are current key players, till the end of the season, to once more fight the drop. It is important to remember that no matter how depressing it is to continuously lose star players, it is somewhat a necessity to balance the books. Look at the likes of West Ham and Portsmouth; bad money management led them to relegation. Wigan are a team that have come up the leagues very fast because of this, and the location of the town, gaining a large following is difficult. Moses looks great hopefully he will assist in keeping us up but same was sad for N’Zogbia and Valencia. However it is still depressing that other clubs can just bully their way to the top like Man City… having said that I’ve just got back from the City game.

  4. FootballTalk

    January 16, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Good article and some very good points raised… Question for me is definately whether they can hold onto players such as Moses if not they could be in serious trouble.

  5. Pietro Romeo

    January 16, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Good article. I have always been impressed by the talent that has gone through the club but I tend to forget the flops. Good to be reminded.

    Have to agree with trickbrkn regarding what kind of team Wigan would have had if they could have held on to their players. Being a “selling club” can be depressing.

  6. trickybrkn

    January 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I find it really sad that the best deals are selling off your best players. As a West Ham fan we are all too aware of this and frankly the game of counting how many former West Ham are on the pitch at any given game on a Saturday morning is depressing. Wigan is a bit of a different case. They have done well dispute the fact that they are Wigan. A new team with a smaller fan base then most League one outfits. They have done well with bringing in gems like Palacios & Valencia… But if you are a Wigan supporter, it has to hurt about what sort of club they’d have if they could hold onto those players.

  7. US Stoke Fan

    January 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I’d like to see more articles like this. How the small clubs operate financially and strategize is far more interesting than analyzing the moves of the larger clubs because frankly the large clubs can absorb staggering losses so the relative transfer values of their acquisitions is a minor consideration at best.

    The two teams I’m most interested in now are Newcastle and Norwich. Newcastle is largely unchanged minus selling Carroll & Barton for 40 million and acquiring Ba for free from the championship club that was achieved promotion after the 09-10 season.. which Norwich has been promoted twice in the last 2 seasons and has achieved ridiculous success on a Blackpool-esque budget. Are the Holts and Morisson’s simply criminally undervalued?

  8. James

    January 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I expect offers for Victor Moses and Diame but whether Wigan sell or not I’m not sure. They can ill-afford to sell these players because without them they won’t stay up. Not sure if they have any new players on the horizon.

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