A Manchester City fan’s view of Emyr Huws

Monday was an uplifting day for Wigan Athletic supporters. The signings of Adam Forshaw and Andy Delort were confirmed and there was the surprise signing of William Kvist from Stuttgart. But the icing on the cake was surely the capture of Emyr Huws on a permanent contract.

Huws is only 20 years old, has a superb technique and is tenacious in the tackle. Born in the rugby hotbed of Llanelli he joined Swansea City as a teenager, moving to Manchester City in 2009. Huws was to become captain of the club’s under 21 side. He joined Northampton Town in October 2012 on a three month loan, with ten appearances, making a positive impression. He made his debut for City in January 2014 as a substitute in an FA Cup match at Blackburn. A couple of weeks later he joined Birmingham City on a one month loan. Being Birmingham’s player of the month in February, his loan was extended until the end of the season.He proved to be an excellent loan signing for the Blues and his spectacular goals against Burnley  and  Middlesbrough brought him public acclaim.

Huws could prove to be Rosler’s best ever signing. He has everything it takes to become a success, not only in the Championship, but in the Premier League. He has already made two appearances for Wales and will surely make many more in the future.

In order to get a Manchester City fan view on Huws’ transfer we reached out to BlueWolf (@BlueWolf1894) . He is a co-owner of mcfcforum.com and wrote for MCFC’s website throughout last season.

Let’s pass over to BlueWolf:

And so, once more, another Manchester City hopeful moves on to a different club; this time around it’s Emyr Huws to Wigan Athetic for around £3m.

 Five years he had been with us after moving from Swansea City at the age of 15 and much praise was heaped upon him, even Captaining the U21 side. But, in fairness, he had always been on the fringe of appearing for the 1st team squad with a number of loan moves in the last couple of years, which in all likelihood was hampering his progression with us.

 The thing is, us City fans are desperate for someone to permanently break through; we have this wonderful Academy set-up (with the brand new facilities opening up its doors in a few weeks), yet everyone who goes through it seems to end up playing for someone else. Sure it brings in some extra money but everyone loves a true homegrown player taking to the field brought up in the club’s own image. The last one of real note was Michael Johnson, and that didn’t exactly end well, did it?

 That’s not to say it won’t happen, because it will, we’re just getting a little impatient. Over to you Iheanacho, Lopes, Rekik, et al.

 So what are the Latics getting for their money? A good and solid holding midfielder, who has impressed everywhere he has been at; obviously Rosler saw enough to give him a 4 year contract. Of course at the age of 20, he still has a lot to learn, but he has a decent head on his shoulders, and as long as he keeps it there he should do wonders for you guys.

 The reported £3m or so has surprised a few Latics fans, not least because it’s about £3m more than they thought would be spent after splashing out on Kvist, Forshaw and Delort, but I suppose the £7m for McArthur helped out a little.

 Rosler said, “Emyr has impressed everyone since arriving at the club and we feel that he can have a major role to play in the future of the club. Everybody can see what a very talented player Emyr is, and from the first training session with us leading through to the games he has played, he has been very good.

 At just 20 years old he is already with the full Welsh national team and the chance to sign him on a long-term contract was too good an opportunity to turn down.”

 It’s just a pity, City didn’t think the same.


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Latics get Manchester City again as the Coyle revolution stutters

The realists might say that Roberto Martinez left Wigan Athletic at the right time.

Despite a meagre budget Martinez kept the club in the Premier League for three consecutive seasons.  In his time at Wigan his teams recorded victories against the elite clubs who dominate the league – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham .

Wigan’s operating budget during Martinez’s tenure was around a quarter or a third of those of the elite clubs. Despite his achievements there were fans who wanted him gone. With the ups came the downs and Latics were on the receiving end of many a hammering from those same clubs.

Martinez’ critics just didn’t like the tiki-taka  style of play and wanted a more direct approach. They never understood why he would not field twin strikers – the term ’lone’ centre forward was an apt description for unfortunates such as Jason Scotland and Hugo Rodallega who got little service or support. They said there were too many foreigners who did not take pride in wearing the Latics shirt. Why weren’t  local lads being given a chance?

However, Martinez had masses of self-belief and courage. He was not to be swayed by his critics and he held firm to his principles. The incredible FA Cup final victory over Manchester City was earned through playing football the Martinez way. They beat City on merit, committing only 5 fouls (compared with City’s 11) and receiving only one yellow card (City had three yellows and one red). It was an exceptional achievement that put Wigan Athletic on the global football map. It was not just the result, but also the style with which it was achieved, that impressed the millions of viewers all over the world.

Through their longevity in the Premier League and winning the FA Cup in such style Wigan Athletic have shed the “small club” image that dogged them for so many years.  However, now that they have risen up the totem pole, so too have expectations. This year Latics are expected to give a good account of themselves in the Europa League, to challenge for promotion from the Championship, at the same time maintaining their reputation for good football.

Owen Coyle is now the man in the Latics hot seat who will have to maintain that same level of strength of conviction shown by his predecessor. Expectations are high and the pressure is on. Wigan’s best chance at getting back into the Premier League is while they have a competitive advantage over other clubs in the Championship through parachute payments.

However, like Martinez before him, Coyle is working under budgetary constraints. It is hard to believe he has sold two players, brought in ten, and still has cash in hand. Coyle’s work in the transfer market is not yet finished – he desperately needs at least one more quality striker and one more defender.

Coyle arrived following a mass exodus of players at the end of the Martinez era. Moreover there remain three players with long-term injuries who would excel at Championship level were they fully fit. Two of them – Ali Al Habsi and Gary Caldwell – were recipients of the club’s ‘Player of the Season’ award for their performances at Premier League level. Add to them  Ivan Ramis, who might well have been in the running for that same award last year had he not suffered a cruciate knee ligament in January.

Coyle has been appointed with a brief of getting immediate success. While Martinez always looked towards the future and took a more long-term view, Coyle does not have that opportunity. Coyle has brought in new players who have the experience and ability to get Latics out of the Championship. Few would be likely to stay at the club for the long haul were Latics to get promoted.

Coyle has had a rollercoaster ride during his couple of months at Wigan. His initial appointment was not well received by many fans, but he managed to win people round by his hard work in the transfer market and his optimistic outlook. Following a 4-0 win over a poor Barnsley side, Latics fans were riding on a wave of optimism . No wins in the following four matches has doused the good cheer and the manager is already under attack from disgruntled fans.

Things have not gone according to plan. In the absence of a strong leader of the back line – like Caldwell and Ramis – there have been defensive weaknesses that have been effectively exploited by the opposition.

Of the new signings only the goalkeeper, Scott Carson, has consistently impressed. Moreover most of the senior pros remaining from the Martinez era have not yet shown their best form.

What a coincidence that Latics have been drawn to play at Manchester City in the Carling Cup  on September 25th.  By then Wigan will have played three more league games, plus their debut fixture in the Europa League.

In the meantime Owen Coyle will be looking at getting his key players back to form. His squad is certainly capable of challenging for promotion, but a showdown with City is a different matter.

It is a long season ahead and the Coyle revolution is going to have its ups and downs. Let’s hope that recent performances prove to be no more than stutters in the path ahead.

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Man City vs. Wigan preview: Man City £354,000,000 – Wigan Athletic £26,500,000

A decent return of five points from three tricky opening fixtures, a positive defensive record of only one goal received, and a very successful transfer window have given Latics fans a lot of hope for the season. Unfortunately, the two trips no one wants at the moment are to the Manchester stadiums, and Eastlands is next for Roberto’s men. Manchester City’s last outing saw them humiliate Tottenham 5-1 at White Hart Lane, in what must be the London club’s heaviest home defeat in its Premier League history. New signings Aguero and Nasri appear to have turned City into genuine title-contenders — their squad is frightening, and on paper probably as strong as any other in the league. In transfer outlays, it’s probably twice as strong as the next closest.

I’m tempted to say there is nothing to lose in this one. No one expects Wigan to get a point, nevermind three. But as we learnt away to United last year, red cards to key players and high scoring losses are both things that can haunt you for the rest of the season.

The hope is that Steve Gohouri will have recovered from his groin strain to replace the uncomfortable Adrian Lopez in the centre of defense. I can’t see Lopez keeping Dzeko, Aguero, Tevez, Silva and company (not Vincent) quiet all game. There again, it’s hard to picture many centre-backs doing that, and perhaps Lopez will be more comfortable marshalling more cultured strikers than he was with the two big battering rams he’s faced so far, Grant Holt and Patrick Agyemang. Fingers crossed, but if Martinez made such a huge gamble on Alcaraz’s fitness against Swansea, he can’t have that much faith in his younger compatriot.

We’ll also be hoping Victor Moses and James McCarthy have recovered from their knocks and strains to be at their best. Judging by Roberto’s comments about the new trio, and in particular Shaun Maloney, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him play some sort of role in this match. Probably best to wait for a lighter match to give Crusat his debut, and certainly no need to blood the Chelsea youngster Van Aanholt as long as Figueroa is fit. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wigan start with the same eleven as against QPR (minus Gohouri, if fit), but add Maloney for Gomez or Di Santo in the second half.

The optimist in me says City will grossly underestimate us and we can go one better on last year’s excellent performance, to snatch a point. The realist says City are just too strong and the best we can hope for is a good defensive effort to keep the score low and morale high. Either way, a look at the arithmetic below makes it all feel better.

Manchester City (transfer fees, in British pounds) total, before wages, sign-on bonuses, etc:  354 million pounds

Hart: 1.5 million
Zabaleta: 6.5 million
Kompany: 6 million
Lescott: 22 million
Clichy: 7 million
Toure Yaya: 24 million
Barry: 12 million
Silva:  25 million
Nasri: 25 million
Agüero: 35 million
Dzeko: 27 million

Pantilimon: on loan
Richards: product of youth system
Milner: 26 million
Johnson: 7 million
Savic: 6 million
Tevez: 40 million
Balotelli: 24 million

Not used:
Kolo Toure: 16 million
Bridge: 10 million
De Jong: 18 million
Kolarov: 16 million

Wigan Athletic (transfer fees, in British pounds) total, before wages, sign-on bonuses, etc:  26.5 million pounds.

Al-Habsi: 4 million
Boyce: 1 million
Caldwell: 0.5 million
Lopez: free agent
Figueroa: undisclosed, but thought to be less than 1 million
Watson: 2 million
Diame: 3 million
Jordi Gomez: 1.7 million
Moses: 2.5 million
Rodallega: 4.5 million
Di Santo: 2 million

Kirkland: undisclosed, possibly free
Stam; 2million
McArthur: 0.5 million
Thomas: undisclosed, estimated at 1 million
Jones: free
McCarthy: 1.2 million
Sammon: 0.6 million

Not Used:
Alcaraz: free, out of contract
Gohouri: free, out of contract
McManaman, product of youth system