Tag Archives: reece james

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.

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.

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.

OPINION: Wigan Athletic Should Forget signing Portsmouth’s Jamal Lowe, Here’s Why…

Is Paul Cook about to be reunited with another one of his pals from Portsmouth?

Wigan are interested in signing attacker Jamal Lowe. Pompey lost against Sunderland in the League One play-off semi-final, therefore it is expected that Lowe will be playing his football away from Fratton Park next season, and in the Championship.

Lowe, 24, scored 17 goals last season from out wide, a very good return. I really rate him as a player – direct, quick, likes to beat a man, scores goals, but Wigan already have players that can do that, and are proven at this level. With Christian Walton (Brighton), Antonee Robinson (Everton) and Reece James (Chelsea) all returning to their parent clubs, and Nick Powell expected to join Stoke at the end of the month, replacing their departures must be a priority this summer.

The Latics are already blessed with quality wingers, Michael Jacobs, Gavin Massey, Anthony Pilkington and Gary Roberts, so in my opinion, the last position we should be spending a considerable amount of our transfer budget on is a winger. I’d rather see the cash spent on a ‘target man’ style striker, who could be assisted by the wingers mentioned.

Although Lowe is undoubtedly a talent, and would probably make the step-up to the Championship without a problem, he shouldn’t be our first signing this summer. If we had endless amounts of cash (maybe the McCarthy has become available) then yes I’d be hoping we signed him. However, a new goalkeeper, left back, central midfielder and striker should be the ultimate focus for us this transfer window.

Cook has already brought Kal Naismith and Gary Roberts to the DW Stadium from Fratton Park, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Lowe transfer happened.

A few loans each from Benfica and Chelsea, then sign Lowe, i’ll take that.

Wigan Athletic Let Six Go Ahead of Next Season’s Shake-Up

The retained and released list have been flying around in recent weeks, and today Wigan have made their‘s public.

Darron Gibson, Callum McManaman, Shaun MacDonald, Jonas Olsson,
James Vaughan and Dan Lavercombe have all been released, while last seasons joint top scorer Nick Powell and back up goalkeeper Owen Evans have been offered contracts.

Paul Cook will look to build on last seasons final hurdle form, as Wigan survived relegation with some brilliant form. Unfortunately, they won’t have the promising Chelsea youngster Reece James in the ranks as he returns to his club alongside Christian Walton (Brighton & Hove Albion), Antonee Robinson (Everton), Beni Baningime (Everton) and Leon Clarke (Sheffield United) who all impressed last season.

Wigan fans, however, will be looking forward to striker Callum Lang returning after a great season with Oldham Athletic where he scored 13 goals in 42 games in League Two, alongside Leo Da Silva Lopes from his spell at Gillingham.

Looking to promote some youth into the team, the Tics have given professional contracts to Charlie Jolley, Kyle Joseph, Joe Gelhardt and Emeka Obi while talks are still ongoing with Adam Long, Scott Smith, Will McGuffie, Victor Maffeo, James Berry and Divin Baningime.

All in all, Wigan will be wanting to better last season’s 18th place finish, and if anything it showed that Wigan can mix it with the big boys when they need to after the results against Leeds and Norwich.

Realistically a solid mid-table finish would be ideal, as they look to make steady progress back into the Premier League over the coming years. With Paul Cook at the helm, they also have a great manager who can steer Wigan back to the good times once again.

Wigan fans what do you make of your retained/released list?

Chelsea’s Reece James is Certainly One To Watch Out For As Well Wigan Fans Know

Reece James certainly made an impact during his time at Wigan Athletic, with many fans, singling out the Chelsea loanee out as one of the sole reasons the Tics stayed up this season.

Even at the tender age of 19, James is attracting interest from the big fish in the Premier League. However, it seems highly unlikely the defender will be going anywhere close to a rival, with another loan move likely on the cards next season to a possible mid-table team.

Everyone at Wigan is going to sorely miss James going off the love he’s received on social media. Especially, after collecting Wigan’s player’s player of the season and player of the season awards, which was well-deserved after playing the most amount of minutes this campaign.

Cook, the Wigan boss would love another season mentoring the youngster, and you have to applaud the growth James has shown under him.

Especially making the move up north last season, many would not have taken their chances and positively help his temporary side out like James has done this season. He seems to have matured and grown, not only as a footballer but as a man – leading him to be named Captain in his final game.

James received a standing ovation in his captained final game, as he was substituted in the 90th minute against Millwall. His two goals and one assist in that final run-in, helped Wigan end up 12 points clear of the relegation zone and has given them a decent platform for next season in the Championship.

Again Wigan left it till the end of the season to show what they are made of, and more importantly, capable of. We have seen this happen many a time in the Premier League under former boss Roberto Martinez and Paul Jewell.

Maybe, James’ influence will have a lasting impression on the Wigan squad, with that sprinkle of Premier League standard giving the whole squad a lift.

Everyone will miss his strong dribbling and crossing ability, alongside his key passing. In which he assisted three times last season, which is not bad for a young defender indeed.

So, Wigan fans which player would you like on loan next season that could have the impact Reece James had last season?