With the news that Wigan midfielder Callum McManaman will have a medical tomorrow ahead of a move to West Bromwich Albion, the exodus from the 2013 FA Cup winning side has begun.
In my weekly Good Buys/Bad Buys column, there are surprisingly no bad buys in the most recent transfer dealings, so here’s my review of the good signings made in the past 7 days:
Shaun Maloney, Wigan Athletic to Chicago Fire; undisclosed fee
Wigan lost Shaun Maloney this week. The former Celtic star will head to Major League Soccer as a Designated Player. Wigan manager Malky MacKay is left with very few proven game winners as he tries to steer the club away from the drop zone. Despite the likelihood of losing Watson on a free this summer, selling both players is a mistake for Wigan. On top of that, Callum McManaman is having a medical tomorrow ahead of a move to West Bromwich Albion.
Ben Watson, Wigan Athletic to Watford, undisclosed fee
Watson, who recovered from a double leg break to feature nine times for Wigan this season, now heads to Watford.
The Hornets are again chasing promotion and Watson’s Championship experience should serve manager Slaviša Jokanović well. It doesn’t hurt to have someone who scored a game winner at Wembley should you need one either. Watson’s goal that beat Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup Final remains perhaps the single biggest goal in Lactics history.
Watson could immediately settle into a regular role with Watford, as he has shown a return to form in recent matches.
Kyle Naughton, Tottenham to Swansea; £5 million
Kyle Naughton represents an experienced upgrade for Swansea in defense. The seasoned veteran defender can play any position on the back line and has the ability to help the Swans turn around their recent poor form at the back.
Three seasons ago, Naughton’s performances on-loan at Norwich were a big reason why the Canaries finished midtable when many tipped the club to be relegated right after promotion. Since returning to Spurs, he has been a useful squad player but at Swansea he will likely be asked by manager Garry Monk to play right-back ahead of Angel Rangel.
Jazz Richards, another Swansea right back was sent out on loan to Fulham last week, meaning Naughton is being counted on in that role. Kyle Walker’s return from injury and the signing of promising American International DeAndre Yedlin meant that Naughton’s chances at Spurs were likely to be limited in the long term.
Lloyd Dyer, Watford to Birmingham City; loan
Dyer is a pacey winger with loads of experience at the Championship level. With Birmingham City stabilizing midtable after successive brushes with relegation, acquiring Dyer on loan from Watford is a very good move. In his first match, Dyer already had an impact setting up the Blues lone goal in Saturday’s 2-1 FA Cup Fourth Round loss to local rivals West Brom.
The player was a key contributor to Leicester City’s promotion to the Premier League one season ago. Dyer’s spark down the wing is noticeably missing from the Foxes side this season. Manager Nigel Pearson did try and retain Dyer’s services, but with the club moving to the Premier League, the player opted to stay in the Championship for guaranteed playing time when he signed with Watford.
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