The Football Manc Cave

Focusing on the football news in Greater Manchester

Is Wigan Athletic’s first Benfica star a good enough replacement for James?

Alfa Semedo is reportedly on the verge of becoming Wigan’s first summer signing. A deal has been struck between the Lancashire club and Benfica, for the Portuguese side to loan some of their academy stars to Wigan.

The young African midfielder spent the second half of last season on loan at Espanyol in Spain, however, he only featured three times. With Semedo only making five career appearances at Benfica since joining in 2018, it’s expected that they will be looking to loan him to a club that will play him regularly.

Outstanding loanee Reece James played the majority of last season in central midfield. Although it’s impossible to find a replacement as good as him. What I think is vital, is that we replace the attributes and strengths he provided us; Strength, pace and power in midfield.

Semedo stands at 6ft2 and from reading a couple of articles and comments from Benfica fans, he’s exactly what we need to replace James. A powerhouse. A Diame type player, someone who can win the ball back and drive forward with it, win big tackles and just be that driving force in midfield.

Judging from Paul Cook’s comments the other day, it suggests he doesn’t want to use the loan market as much as we did last campaign. Probably because it leaves you so short once the players return to their home clubs. For example, we’ve lost Christian Walton, Antonee Robinson and Reece James, add on Nick Powell joining Stoke and there are four first-team players gone before the transfer window has even opened. Not ideal.

I do feel like we need two or three loans. We couldn’t afford anyone in the same class as James, loan, possibly. You can’t fill huge gaps with poor players, replacing their attributes and finding solid replacements is a priority, otherwise, we’re going to leave ourselves short next season.

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