Tag Archives: reece james

Who should Wigan Athletic look to loan, buy and sell this window?

What can Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook do with the remainder of the transfer window?

Wigan will be looking for a number of further signings, following the announcement of their first summer transfer this week. David Marshall signed on a two year deal.

Wigan is still in for defender Antonee Robinson and seems close to agreeing to a deal according to the Liverpool Echo. We have a look at what other positions they may be chasing, and any players that may be on the move from the DW Stadium.

Loan

Highly-rated and experienced goalkeeper Marshall supposedly turned down an ‘interesting offer’ from a Premier League (believed to be Liverpool), to sign for Wigan because of the lure of first-team football. That’s a good sign straight away about his character. I’d be amazed if he wasn’t our number one next season, Jamie Jones will likely be the sub ‘keeper as he was for the majority of the last campaign. Leaving Owen Evans open to another loan move, probably not what he wanted, nevertheless an opportunity to play football and gain experience playing in the EFL.

Sell

The two names at the top of my list at the start of the summer transfer window have already left, Jamie Walker and Devante Cole. I feel we’ve got rid of the ‘deadwood’ now and the focus must be on signing replacements. Everyone in the current squad is good enough to play in the Championship and challenge for their starting spot, which is a good foundation to build on, we need to sign quality rather than quantity.

Sign

It’s looking likely Latics will complete the signing of Robinson. Our priority then must be signing a central midfielder to replace the Reece James’ void. Wigan was confident of signing Benfica midfielder Alfa Semedo on loan, however, he opted to sign for Nottingham Forest instead. A big blow. Cook will have alternative targets, which I’m sure he’s exploring now. One player I feel could replace James and is possibly available, Alex Tettey. Norwich have been promoted and he rarely featured last season, probably on big wages, however, a loan deal could be an option.

Crystal Palace could be getting a real gem from former Wigan Athletic loanee

Crystal Palace is linked with a move for Chelsea star Reece James, as they look to find a replacement for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who signed for Manchester United in a deal worth £50 million.

Today at The Football Manc Cave, Dan is going to look at what James would offer Palace.

I was lucky enough to watch James all of last season, being a Wigan Athletic fan. He’s the best player I’ve ever seen at Latics. Consider the fact he joined as a teenager that had never played a competitive match, then left after winning Player of the Year, captaining the side and dominating most of the Championship’s midfield – he did pretty well.

Big props to Palace’s scouts, not a lot of people realise how good James is going to be. I’ve no doubt he’ll play for England within the next 2 years, first-team football is crucial though. I expect Frank Lampard to give him an opportunity to showcase himself at Chelsea, if he does, Palace won’t be signing him. James is already good enough for Chelsea, versatile and just an all-around top player.

What makes him so good?

For me, it’s his attitude off the pitch. He never once thought he was too good for us, you could tell he appreciated what Wigan was offering him, and he loved playing for us. James attended academy matches, talking to our youth players about how they could improve.

On the pitch, he was just a different level. Strength, pace, set-pieces, tackles, passing, he’s got the lot. A joy to watch. He could play anywhere on the pitch and do a job. I hope for his sake, he chooses whatever is best for him. All he needs is first-team football, and he’ll fly to the top in no time.

To-Do List: Wigan Athletic must do these 2 things before the start of the season

Wigan Athletic welcome recently relegated Cardiff City to the DW Stadium on 3rd August. In their opening game of the 2019/20 Championship campaign.

It’ll be a new look Wigan team that takes to the field, with four starters from last season already leaving the club. Loanees Christian Walton, Antonee Robinson and Reece James returned to their home clubs, while Nick Powell signed for Stoke on a free transfer.

So, Latics boss Paul Cook has an important few weeks to build a side that will be ready to take on the rest of the Championship. I look at a couple of things that Wigan MUST do before 3rd August…

Sign a left-back

At the moment, we haven’t got a left-back on the books. I’m not classing Kal Naismith as one, because he’s not a defender. The former Pompey man struggled when asked to fill in the void last season. However when playing midfield he was very good, and it was evident that’s his primary position. Fans unfairly judged him, when playing out of position. Whether we sign Robinson on a permanent deal from Everton or sign somebody else, it remains to be seen – just sign a left-back please, Cook.

Trust Windass or sign a Powell replacement

In the 4-2-3-1 formation, the most important position is the role behind the striker. You need an influential player who can score/create goals, add to the fact Powell was our most talented player. I’d like to see Windass given an opportunity in his favoured position, he divides opinion within our fan base, I understand why. However, just give him a chance this season – now Powell is gone, let’s what he’s really about and if he can step-up. If Cook doesn’t think he’s up to replacing Powell, we must sign a quality replacement. Otherwise, we simply won’t score enough goals.

Wigan Athletic’s best Premier League 5 a-side team – Agree?

Here at the Football Manc Cave, we set Wigan Athletic fan Dan the task of selecting his Premier League 5-a-side team.

This was difficult. I’ve gone with players that I think would suit 5 a-side football. Quick, can score goals and work hard.

Goalkeeper

Ali Al-Habsi in goal, probably the easiest choice of the lot. Brilliant at saving penalties, class shot stopper and a great character. If your playing ‘goalie-rush’ rules and you’ve got Ali in net, I think you’ve won. He’s one of my favourite players ever, just excelled in big moments. The penalty saves vs Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool the standouts.

Defender

The sole defender was tough. Do you go with an Emmerson Boyce or Arjan De Zeeuw type who you would back 9 times out of 10 to defend a 1vs1. Maybe Leighton Baines who could shoot from anywhere on the pitch and score. I was watching ‘Premier League years’ while writing this and John Arne Riise was on, what a left foot he had, one of the cleanest strikers of a ball I’ve ever seen. That tipped it, Baines vs Preston North End, strike. A good defender all the same, but if you needed a goal in 5 a-side, just give it Baines and let him shoot.

Midfielders

Mohamed Diame was an obvious choice for me. He can do everything. Runs all day, wins the ball back, beats players, scores screamers. He’s a bit of everything, like having an extra player almost. He’s currently a free agent, I’d do some crazy things to see him back at Wigan – exactly what we need to replace Reece James and he’s such a good player.

Alongside him, I went with James McArthur. A close call between him or James McCarthy. I edged towards McArthur simply because he scores more goals. Another workhorse. The Scotsman would just run and run, before making late runs to latch onto Baines’ long through-balls. Dream partnership alongside Diame in 5 a-side. We need to see it happen in real life. It’s basically a cheat code.

Striker

Lastly, Shaun Maloney, an actual wizard. Never scored a massive amount of goals, but absolutely brilliant to watch with the ball at his feet. Made defenders look daft with his footwork. Brilliant on set-pieces too. I’d just give the ball to Maloney and let him do the rest.

Anyway, leave your team suggestions below. It’ll take longer than you think.

3-point plan for Wigan Athletic to have a successful season

I classed last season as a success for Wigan, finishing 18th and 12 points clear of relegation. Considering the last twice we’ve been in the Championship, we were relegated.

So, what’s the aim next season? To build on that and push towards mid-table would be ideal. Although, we’ve already lost four key players ahead of the next campaign, so I’m expecting another relegation scrap. We won’t get promoted, so avoid the bottom three and I’ll be fairly happy. It’s going to take a good few years for us to build a squad capable of pushing for playoffs.

What three things must we do over the summer to ensure we improve last season…

Sign a goal scorer

Without goals, you don’t win games. To think we avoided relegation last season pretty comfortably, and our top scorers had just eight goals, shows two things: A:) We don’t have a quality striker. B:) Our midfielders score a solid amount of goals. I’d like that luxury of going into a game thinking ‘he’ll score one or two today’ however we simply don’t. I felt we dominated a lot of home games last season, not picking up the points we deserved, sign a goal scorer and that could soon change.

Pick a number one goalkeeper

Without Christian Walton, we don’t have a number one ‘keeper. Paul Cook doesn’t seem to have maximum faith in Jamie Jones, who didn’t really grasp his opportunity last season. Maybe it’s time to give Owen Evans a chance? He’s just signed a new contract, when he could’ve easily gone elsewhere for first-team football, Evans has shown loyalty to Wigan and wants to fight for his place. Why not see what he’s got. I like a ‘keeper to be commanding and a leader from the back, could Evans be that man?

Build the team around Sam Morsy

There’s been rumours flying around that a number of Championship clubs want Morsy. We can’t sell him, whatever the fee. He is the heartbeat of this club. Captain, a leader, build your team around him for years. Morsy is that player that sets the tone for us, although he’s not a great footballer, the Egyptian hunts and fights for every ball, then the rest follow. Morsy has worked with Cook for the majority of his career, so I don’t see him leaving. We’ve already lost Walton, Robinson, James and Powell, it’s going to be hard enough replacing them, don’t make the job harder by selling Morsy too.

POLL: Who was the better player; Wigan Athletic’s James or Norwich City’s Aarons?

Last season it was Bradley Dack vs Nick Powell. Now it’s Reece James vs Max Aarons. James is the right answer by the way, not that I’m biased in any way being a Wigan fan.

Both are very good young English talents. Considering neither had played a first-team match before this season, they’ve had exceptional seasons. Aarons winning the league with Norwich and being named in EFL team of the season. While James won every end of the season award at Wigan and is expected to be in Chelsea’s first-team squad when he returns from injury.

Lets take a look at both…..

I was lucky enough to watch James last season. He’s the best player I’ve ever seen at Wigan. A player that just oozes class and makes the game look so simple. Signed as a reserve right-back, left after playing the majority of the season in central midfield, and bossing most Championship midfielders. Strength, pace, set-pieces, passing, shooting, tackling, brilliant attitude – he’s got it all.

Unfortunately, I’ve not seen as much of Aarons. Although, from what I have seen, he’s a top player. A real modern day full-back who is brilliant attacking-wise, however also very strong defensively.

The youngster scored twice, assisting six and is attracting serious interest from Man United. On the subject, England are blessed with some ridiculous right backs: Trent Alexander Arnold, Max Aarons, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Reece James, even throw Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier into the mix.

Who gets your vote…

Who was the better player last season

  • Max Aarons (63%, 155 Votes)
  • Reece James (38%, 93 Votes)

Total Voters: 248

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Chelsea’s Clarke-Salter to Wigan Athletic, can he be another Reece James?

Wigan are among a number of clubs chasing a loan deal for Chelsea’s Jake Clarke-Salter. The highly-rated youngster spent last season out on loan to Dutch side, Vitesse.

The London club are looking to get their defender EFL experience, send him to Wigan, we’ll take good care of him. Just ask Reece James. He arrived having never played a senior match. By the end of the last campaign, he’d played 45 Championship matches, won player of the season and etched his name into our history books forever, a super talent.

Wigan played their part too. Using James as a midfielder for a majority of the season allowed him to really experience the physicality and speed of the Championship. You could see he was learning every game, and growing in confidence. Also, it’s worth mentioning Paul Cook gave James the captain’s armband on the final game of the season, then substituted him late on to allow all the fans to show their appreciation. There were tears.

There’s been the talk of Matt Miazga signing from Chelsea, now it’s Salter-Clarke. Either will do. They’re both good footballers, which is what Cook is looking for, a partner for Danny Fox that is comfortable playing out from the back. It’s actually an important part of our summer transfer plans. I think it’s inevitable that we’ll get a couple of Chelsea youths, Cook needs to pick the right ones. A centre back and striker would be perfect.

Miazga or Salter-Clarke, we’ll take either one please.

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.

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