As Peter Odemwingie put his name to a contract extension that will see him a West Brom player through the summer of 2014, the curtains closed on Wigan’s latest failed attempt in the transfer window.
There has been plenty to smile about this summer — Al-Habsi’s permanent deal, the release of wage drainers like Jason Koumas and Daniel De Ridder, and the retention of all but one of the club’s crop of talented young players.
But as we approach match day number two, the club appears no closer to the signing of a winger it so desperately needs. Nouha Dicko was apparently quite useful for the “development squad” in their 3-1 win the other day over Fulham, but is clearly one for the future. And Callum McManaman is back from the u-20 World Cup and will hopefully be available in the coming weeks. But it was quite clear against Norwich that while not doing anything wrong (or much of anything at all), Jordi Gomez is not dynamic enough for that position on the right wing. When the opposition wises up and starts kicking Moses on the left side of the pitch, we’ll have a problem.
And so West Brom rejected the Latics offer of 4 million pounds, a weak bid that was never going to tempt them. Odemwingie was a revelation last year, scoring 15 goals. He only cost West Brom 2.5 million, but who in their right mind would sell 15 Premier League goals for a profit of 1.5 million? That’s the difference between mid-table security and relegation.
Meanwhile, Sean Wright-Phillips is apparently close to joining Bolton. Roy Beerens (who?) snubbed Latics for AZ Alkmaar. Carlos Vela joined Real Sociedad on a year-long loan. Everton’s injury-prone forward Yakubu was linked a few days ago but nothing further on that one. Which probably means the best bet at this point is another season-long loan signing, ala Cleverley last year. But who else is there? Milner or Johnson from City would be great but their wages will be prohibitive. Diouf and Macheda of United may be available but haven’t shown too much in previous loan spells. Gio Dos Santos would be a loan possibility but it sounds at though Spurs want to sell. Arsenal don’t really have too much to spare. Maybe Pablo Barrera from West Ham’s bench? Someone from the Spanish market?
Overall, I’m a very happy supporter with Roberto Martinez at the helm. The team is financially stable, he’s building for the future, they’re playing decent football, and he genuinely cares. But one thing Steve Bruce had — and continues to have at Sunderland — is a big enough football name to convince proven Premiership players to join the club. At this stage, it looks like any signings are going to be from weaker leagues, who will take time to settle in and find their feet. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think the team can afford to wait too much longer — the relegation six-pointers have already started.