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2 Wigan Athletic players that need to leave this summer

Wigan are set for a summer clearout. Dan Lavercombe, Jonas Olsson, Shaun Macdonald, Callum Mcmanaman and James Vaughan were all released following the expiration of their contracts; while Nick Powell is expected to join Stoke City in the coming weeks.  

As expected, Reece James, Antonee Robinson and Christian Walton have all returned to their full-time clubs, which leaves Wigan’s squad looking threadbare.

After consolidating in the Championship last season, finishing 18th. Paul Cook will be looking to build a squad that can challenge for mid-table next season. With limited transfer funds, the Latics manager may look to offload a couple of fringe players, to raise money for a number of recruits.

Let’s have a look at two players who may be leaving the club this summer…

Jamie Walker

The Scottish winger has failed to make a positive impact since signing in January 2018. Walker has made just eight appearances for the club and is yet to score. Cook sent him on loan to Peterborough, however, he quickly fell out favour, playing just 12 times in the 2018/19 campaign.

It’s very unlikely that he is part of Cook’s plans. With rumours of him returning to Hearts, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they came to fruition.

Devante Cole

Cole was signed in the same window as Walker, in hope, he would provide that extra firepower to get us promoted from League One. Unfortunately, despite a couple of bright performances, his move has never worked out.

Similarly to Walker, he was loaned out to Burton Albion in League One last season, to find some form and confidence. He didn’t have a positive impact at The Brewers, unfortunately. I expect a number of clubs in the EFL will be looking to sign Cole, and he will be sold. He’s simply not good for this level.

‘Do well find a club with a worse preseason schedule than ours’ Wigan Athletic fans unhappy with pre-season plans

Wigan announced a pre-season friendly against Premiership outfit Everton, to be played on Wednesday 24th July. The Latics will also play host to Lancashire rivals Burnley on Saturday 27th July.

Both fixtures will give solid tests’ to Paul Cooks side ahead of their 2019/20 Championship campaign. Before the two home games, they will travel to Chester, AFC Fylde and Bradford as part of their preparations.

The fans were hoping for a sunny trip to Portugal or Spain. However, they will have to settle for a trip to Blackpool tower after visiting AFC Fylde… at least you can buy some Blackpool rock, silver linings and all that.

Let’s see how Wigan fans reacted to their full pre-season announcement…

Cook has three key areas he needs to strengthen for Wigan Athletic to try and hit the playoffs

Well, after a positive season in the Championship (for a change), it feels like our squad has been ripped apart and we have to start again this summer. I suppose it was expected considering three of our best players were on loan, and Powell was always unlikely to sign a new contract.

We still have the foundation of a decent squad, however, we still need a squad overhaul to ensure we have competition for places. I expect us to loan a few of Chelsea’s youth players, after the outstanding work we have done with Reece James. If this link with Benfica comes to fruition, they could provide us with a few top players also.

It’s a big summer for Wigan. How much ambition do the new owners have? Do they trust Cook to sign a number of young, talented players for decent money, or are we looking at signing frees and loans? A mix of both, I’d imagine.

Either way, we need to get our signings right. Powell and James were our two best players, we’ve already lost one and will likely lose the other. Furthermore, we’ve got squad players to buy after Darron Gibson and Callum McManaman were both released.

I look at three areas we need to strengthen ahead of next season…

Strength in midfield

It’s impossible for us to replace James. He’s worth more than our club, genuinely. But what did he offer us – pace, power, ability on the ball, so we need to look at replacing his attributes and signing a similar type of player. A powerhouse. Morsy is more of a ‘ball-winning’ midfielder, so offers that protection for a partner to have the freedom and break forward.

Lee Evans ended the season very well but is more suited as an attacking midfielder, opposed to a defensive one. Mohamed Diame has recently been released from Newcastle, it’s a shame his wages will be a stumbling block, he’s exactly what we need to replace James.

Speed merchants

Cook likes to play with one up front, and that striker is predominantly a ‘target man’. I don’t have a problem with that as it allows our creative players to flourish, and enjoy plenty of the ball in the right areas. However, we need a plan B to improve our away form. We led by one goal in a number of games away from home last season, but couldn’t find that killer second goal because we didn’t have the pace to counter-attack.

Conor Washington is available for free. He’s a striker that can run in-behind and exploit a high defensive line. Fraizer Campbell another. Come on Cookie, I’m doing your job for you.

A new number one

We’ve had Christian Walton on loan from Brighton for the past two seasons, and he’s been brilliant. However, there are no suggestions that he’ll be joining us for a third spell. Jamie Jones didn’t take advantage of a run in the side, therefore Cook will be looking for a new commanding ‘keeper. Jamal Blackman is currently unused at Chelsea, he’s got a wealth of EFL experience and would be a good addition for us.

Should Wigan Athletic Be Going All Out for Oldham Athletic’s Edmundson or Focus Elsewhere

George Edmundson is presumably on route to Peterborough or Rangers. Both clubs are battling for his signature, although it seems The Posh have moved ahead in the race, after reportedly having an offer accepted for the young defender.

Edmundson was named in the 2018/19 EFL League Two team of the season and, is attracting interest from a number of sides. Oldham will be hoping for an auction, to raise as much money as possible for their departing defender.

Wigan manager Paul Cook is on the hunt for a ‘ball-playing’ defender, but I think Matt Miazga will sign on loan from Chelsea, which will fill that void. The Latics signed Danny Fox in the January transfer window, who has performed brilliantly since joining from Nottingham Forest. He’s a real leader and comfortable playing out from the back. Chey Dunkley and Cedric Kipre are both young, strong defenders, but aren’t great footballers in terms of distributing the ball from the defence. Miazga would give us that physicality and ability to start attacks from the defence, that Cook is looking for.

I expect the majority of our transfer budget to be spent on a new number nine, to score us 15-20 goals, and the rest on a new midfielder to replace Reece James. Most of our signings will be frees and loans unless we sell one of our assets like Sam Morsy for a sizeable fee. A centre back isn’t an immediate priority, so I’d say it’s unlikely we’ll be joining the chase for Edmundson. Especially considering an auction will likely see the fee rise to around £1 million, Wigan could put that money towards a new striker.

Don’t get me wrong, I really rate Edmundson, and I believe he’ll be worth a lot more than £1 million in a couple of years time, so he’s a very good long-term investment. However, Wigan needs to buy players, for NOW, players that are going to impress from the off and push us up the table next season.

Two Chelsea Youngsters Wigan Athletic Should Go In For This Summer

Reece James arrived to Wigan a boy, and left a man.

On the final day of the season, Paul Cook gave him the opportunity to captain the side, and substituted him in the last five minutes, to allow the fans an opportunity to thank him for his efforts throughout the season. In my time watching football, I’ve never seen a loan player have such a positive effect on a club, fans had tears in their eyes when he walked off the pitch vs Millwall. A truly special talent. Now, who’s the next one, give us some options Chelsea…

Chelsea are known for loaning out a lot of players every season, I think we’ve built a good connection after the work we have done with James, so will definitely be getting a couple of players to develop. There are certainly worse feeder clubs than Chelsea.

I look at two players I’d like to see us take on loan from Sarri’s side…

Matt Miazga

Paul Cook is reportedly on the lookout for a ‘ball-playing’ centre back, and Miazga absolutely fits the ball. The American had a very good five months at Reading, making 18 appearances and helping The Royals avoid relegation. I imagine Chelsea will want him to gain more experience in the Championship, Wigan seems the perfect fit. They can trust us to develop him as a player, he’ll play regularly and be joining a side that likes to play attractive football starting from the defence. It makes sense for all parties.

Jamal Blackman

Christian Walton has been our number one for the past two years, the young ‘keeper has returned to Brighton and there’s been little talk of him returning for a third loan spell. With Wigan needing a lot of signings this summer, I think Cook will be looking to utilise the loan market and sign players that will be guaranteed starters. Blackman is a highly-rated goalkeeper, has experience in the EFL and is at an age where he’ll be wanting to play regularly. He could come to Wigan and be handed the number one shirt immediately.

Forget Signing Liverpool’s Woodburn, Wigan Athletic Need One of These Two Experienced Loanees Instead

Wigan are among a number of Championship clubs looking to sign Liverpool star Ben Woodburn on loan. The youngster spent last season at Sheffield United, but failed to play regularly at The Blades, featuring just seven times.

However, the Welsh international is very highly rated at Liverpool and seen as a future starter for the Champions League winners. Team mate Harry Wilson enjoyed a successful campaign on loan at Derby, scoring 20 goals and helping them to reach the play-off final.

Paul Cook will be desperately searching for a goal scoring attacking midfielder to replace the departing Nick Powell. The Latics boss is likely to exploit the loan market to find a replacement, due to a player of Powell’s calibre probably costing a fair few million.

If we miss out on Woodburn, I look at two other players that would be good signings for us…

Lewis Baker

After Wigan’s brilliant work with Reece James, I imagine Chelsea will offer us a few of their youth players and hope we work our magic with them again. Baker is 24, and returning to Chelsea, following a good loan spell at Reading. He is quality on the ball, scores and creates goals, exactly what we need to replace Powell. Also, he has plenty of experience in the EFL now, having played for MK Dons, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Reading, therefore he’s less of a risk than Woodburn.

Henri Lansbury

Lansbury is a player I’ve always admired and wanted at The Latics – could it be the time? I rate his ability to score goals from midfield, usually screamers too. He struggled to get into the Villa side last season, and will most certainly leave the newly promoted side, this summer. He’s a very good Championship player, has experience of winning promotion and season-defining matches, I believe he would be a solid acquisition for a majority of sides in this league.

Is Liverpool Youngster’s Link To Wigan Athletic a Good Move?

Wigan are interested in signing Liverpool youngster Ben Woodburn on loan. The youngster is very highly rated at Melwood and looking for first-team football in the Championship next season.

The Welsh international was loaned to Sheffield United last campaign, however, featured just seven times. Nevertheless, they did win promotion and Chris Wilder is a manager that makes minimal changes to his starting 11. The Blades play direct football, and 4-4-2, which didn’t suit Woodburn who likes to play as a winger or directly behind the striker.

Harry Wilson scored 20 goals last season for Derby, also loaned out from Liverpool, showing they aren’t on their books for nothing. They are super talents and a massive part of their future. That’s a tip in itself, if Jurgen Klopp sees them as future starters, they must be pretty good. So yeah, get it done Cookie, we’ll have Woodburn, Wilson and Sadio Mane.

With Nick Powell departing, it’s looking like Josh Windass will be given an opportunity to prove his worth in the side. I’m happy with that, as long as we sign a Woodburn type player as a back-up. Signing Woodburn as a direct replacement for Powell would be a risk, considering he only played seven times last season. Powell was our most influential player, so we need his replacement to have an immediate impact and start scoring/creating goals from the off.

It wouldn’t be fair to pile all that pressure on Woodburn. Give Windass his long-awaited chance and ease the youngster into the squad. If he’s as good as Liverpool seem to think, then he’ll walk into our side. Cook is a scouser, so maybe that gives us an advantage. He was at the Champions League final, maybe he agreed a few deals with Mr Klopp over a celebratory glass of wine? Morsy’s not for sale, and too good for Liverpool.

2 Areas Wigan Athletic Need To Strengthen Ahead of Next Season

It almost feels like Wigan are back to square one, in terms of building our own squad. We had a good 2018/19 season, finishing 18th after being promoted the season prior. However, we’ve released a number of players, Powell is leaving on a free, and three of our best players have returned to their parent clubs.

We have a foundation of a solid squad, but it’s looking as if we need to sign 10+ players this summer. I expect us to loan a few of Chelsea’s youth players, after the brilliant work we have done with Reece James, and if this link with Benfica comes to fruition, they could provide us with a few quality players.

It’s a big summer for Wigan. How much ambition do the new owners have? Do they trust Cook to sign a number of young, talented players for decent money, or are we looking at signing frees and loans?

Either way, we need to get our signings right. Powell and James were our two best players, we’ve already lost one and will likely lose the other, good luck replacing them two because it will take some doing.

I look at two areas we need to strengthen ahead of next season…

Strength in midfield

It’s impossible for us to replace James. He is a £25 million player already. But what did he offer us – pace, power, ability on the ball, so we need to look at replacing his attributes and signing a similar type of player. I’d like to see us sign a goalscoring midfielder who likes to get forward and run with the ball. Morsy is more of a ‘ball-winning’ midfielder, so offers that protection for a partner to have the freedom and break forward. Mohamed Diame has just been released from Newcastle, it’s a shame his wages will be a stumbling block, he would have been perfect.

Pace, pace and more pace

Cook tends to play with one up front, and that striker is predominantly a ‘target man’, I don’t have a problem with that as it allows our creative players to flourish, and enjoy plenty of the ball in the right areas. However, I do feel like we need a plan B. We led a number of games away from home last season, but couldn’t find that killer second goal, because we didn’t have the pace to counter-attack.

Conor Washington is available for free, he’s a striker that can run in-behind and exploit a high defensive line. Fraizer Campbell another. Come on Cookie, I’m doing your job for you.

These Two Things Will Make it a Good Season For Wigan Athletic Next Year

If you offered any Wigan fan an 18th placed finish at the start of last season, trust me, we’d of snapped your hand off. The last two times we had been in the Championship, we were relegated.

Paul Cook has done a superb job at Latics. The former Pompey gaffer won League One at the first time of asking, and kept us in the Championship with relative ease, in his second season. Bare in mind we only spent around £4 million last summer, and are still playing with players who won us the League One title, he’s overachieving.

Now we’re looking to build on a good season, and push for a comfortable mid-table finish (you never know, we might sneak 6th). I look at two things that will be pivotal this summer, as we prepare for another rollercoaster campaign.

We need a goalscorer

Wigan were very good in a number of games last season but didn’t always get what they deserved. Lots of ‘pretty’ football and positive wing play, but nobody to put the ball in the net. We defended well and controlled a majority of our home games, however, scoring goals was a problem.

I’m realistic, we aren’t going to splash out £8 million on a proven goalscorer. We need Cookie to find a gem, work your magic Paul.

Keep Sam Morsy

Wigan have been a victim of losing their star players for years and years. It’s often done with the club’s interest at heart, in terms of finances (we don’t want to end up like them down the road) but I think Morsy needs to be kept at all costs. He’s club captain and been with Paul Cook for most of his career. The team feeds of Morsy’s hunger and endeavour, always pressing and hunting for possession, he sets the tone and standard for others to follow – we can’t lose that.

OPINION: Josh Windass to Take on Nick Powell’s Role For Wigan Athletic – Agree?

With Nick Powell on the verge of signing for Stoke City on a free transfer, Wigan manager Paul Cook is faced with the task of replacing him. However, the replacement might be a lot closer to home than he first thought – Josh Windass.

After signing for The Latics from Rangers last summer, he has failed to make a positive impact, but that’s largely down to Powell playing in his favoured position. Now Powell is leaving, it offers Windass an opportunity to nail down the ‘number 10’ spot and prove his worth in the side.

Powell suffered from a hamstring injury at the start of 2019, which allowed Windass a chance to have a proper run in the side. He absolutely delivered, scoring in three consecutive games. There’s no doubt he has the ability – always wanting the ball, loves to run at defenders and beat them, and his finishing has improved massively since he joined the club.

His attitude is questionable at times, and that’s why he splits opinion with Wigan fans but was that frustration because of the lack of first-team opportunities? Yes.

In my opinion, he should start next season playing behind the striker, give him 15 games then judge him. Windass really carried the side when Powell was out injured, taking games by the scruff of the neck and trying to win them on his own.

I expect us to sign a new striker in the summer, so hopefully, Windass can strike a good relationship with the new recruit. I believe him failing or flailing next season, could define our whole campaign. Powell has been so influential to us over the years, it’ll be interesting to see how we play without him.

Is Windass good enough to fill the void? Can he score 10+ goals from midfield? Give him the chance to fly, it’s make or break time Josh.

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