Despite being situated in a ‘rugby league’ town, derived of any history and starved of ambition in a half empty stadium; when it comes to Wigan Athletic, the grass isn’t always greener.
Pascal, Wilson, Charles, Nathan and Jimmy.
As predicted by many, the annual occurrence of Wigan Athletic’s key player leaving for pastures new has augmented into more than just newspaper gossip. Now our golden boy Mr Moses has jumped ship to Chelsea, it begs the question, is it the correct decision?
As the opening paragraph suggests, there have been those before him who saw the bright lights of a ‘bigger club’ and handed in their transfer request before you could say ‘bloody rubbish Wigan’. Sometimes they did it in the dressing room whilst still wearing the blue and white kit of Wigan Athletic, which is down right disrespectful if you ask me, but that’s another story.
The reasons the aforementioned players did fail in the chapters subsequent to Wigan Athletic in their careers are similar. Some went too early, some went for the wrong reasons, but generally, it can be assumed in most cases that the player thought that they were better than the club, as if one or two good seasons gave them a divine right to leave little Wigan behind and join a club closer to their perceived true abilities.
Clearly, that isn’t the case. It was only today I saw a thread on the message board with a link to an Aston Villa board where the fans were absolutely ripping into N’Zogbia (or Insomnia), suggesting he was an unmotivated, talentless waste of money. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s a far cry from the player who was being praised from all angles twelve months ago when he destroyed most full backs put in front of him when he was wearing blue and white.
In the case of N’Zogbia, it was clear he didn’t fancy another relegation battle as he saw himself to be a player worthy of a mid-table club at least, the same can be said of Chimbonda, Palacios and Bullard. Yet these players excelled at Wigan in the first place because they were big fishes in a small pond at the JJB/DW, at Spurs the former two were just average players compared to the rest and struggled to make an impact.
Maybe I’m being a little harsh on Bullard by tarnishing him with the same brush as Chimbonda and Palacios (especially Pascal), because initially, he was a success at Fulham. Without that tragic injury maybe have had many brilliant seasons there, but look at where he is now and you do wonder if his decline would have been so rapid if he’d stayed at Wigan. He’s just had his contract mutually terminated by Championship mid-tablers Ipswich.
In the case of Victor, it’s hard to say if he sees himself as bigger or better than Wigan, and to be fair, you can’t blame a twenty one year old lad for jumping at the chance to join Chelsea, it must be like his Christmas has came early this year for him. I imagine he’ll experience a significant wage hike too, with varying figures being thrown around depending on which paper you read/believe, the temptation is easy to understand, but will it do his footballing career any good?
You only have to point at the old tale of Shaun Wright-Phillips to suggest that maybe it won’t be the fairytale story Victor Moses has always dreamed of. Shaun was in a similar position to Victor when he left City for Stamford Bridge in 2005, a young, exciting player who led a bottom half Premier League club’s attacking threat. As previously mentioned though, SWP fell into not just the ‘another player’ category but as the bench boy who never got a game at Chelsea. Not great value for £21 million, but even worse news for his development and career.
I don’t want it to sound like I’m slagging him off just because he’s left, but I don’t think Victor’s playing style lends itself to the faithful. Let’s be realistic, he’s a ball hogger with an erratic final ball, and Chelsea already have a left footed version of that in the shape of Daniel Sturridge. He might have been able to get away with it at Wigan as he was one of the few who could beat a player, so by the time he got to the byline, he’d got to territory not many Latics wingers had got too since Gary Teale.
My point is, Chelsea fans are used to seeing the proficient Juan Mata and Eden Hazard decimate defences and then play delightful final balls to create chances or score goals. If this Charlie big b*llocks from Wigan comes along, never passes it and fails with his final ball, I doubt they’ll take too keenly to him. Although £9 million isn’t the £21 million they spent on Wright-Phillips, it isn’t the £4 million they spent on Sturridge either.
In that sense, maybe Dave Whelan was right when he said that he could benefit from a couple of more seasons under Martinez, as the shark amongst tunas who can afford to scuff a few crosses now and then and not have 40,000 fans on his back. It could have given him the opportunity to develop into the top class winger he undoubtedly has the ability to be. A couple of seasons on Chelsea’s bench probably won’t have the same possibility and would be quite pernicious.
However, I’m sure there are many who are reading this and are pointing out the likes of Antonio Valencia and Leighton Baines, who have never looked back since their moves from Wigan and have excelled at Manchester United and Everton respectively. They do give evidence that a young player like Moses can leave Wigan and not end up being considered overpaid and overrated or left to rot on a substitute’s bench.
The key difference between those that failed and those that succeeded is the morals behind the move in my eyes, Pascal and co’s moves were down to arrogance and/or money, whilst Antonio’s and Leighton’s were down to joining the biggest club in the country at the right time/ joining his boyhood heroes.
Personally, I think Valencia and Baines were more motivated to play for United and Everton than Chimbonda, Palacios and Ellington were for Spurs and West Brom, hence how they each moved on to the likes of Sunderland, Stoke, Blackburn, Watford, Doncaster, Skoda bloody Xanthi etc.
The key factor behind Moses’ success (or otherwise) is how motivated he is, how much he gets his head down and works hard. It also depends on how much he plays, but I think that will be dictated by how hard he works, even if he isn’t the finished article and makes a few mistakes at first, the faithful love a tryer and are more willing to give them a chance than a Mido or a Gomez.
Personally, I hope he’s a success and joins the likes of Valencia and Baines in being huge successes, because he certainly has the potential to and under the right guidance, could become a magnificent player.