With the summer transfer window drawing to a close, Gary Caldwell will be deciding whether he needs to make any last-minute additions to his Wigan squad.
As As bluesquare.com wrote in its early season preview for League One, Caldwell has already invested wisely in his squad with a mix of players proven at this level and those capable of playing in a higher division. With that in mind, Caldwell will be wary about disrupting the balance with any panic buys before the transfer deadline.
Caldwell will also do well to heed the lessons of Wigan’s past forays into the transfer market in the closing weeks of the summer window.
The club haven’t traditionally been busy during the month of August when it comes to signing players, but when they have dipped their toes into the transfer waters they have had mixed results with their signings.
Here are five players Wigan have signed in August in the recent past who had contrasting careers at the DW Stadium.
ARJAN DE ZEEUW
In some respects, bringing De Zeeuw back to the club for a second spell was a no-brainer. After all, De Zeeuw, who now works for the police in his native Holland, had twice been named the club’s Player of the Year in his first stint at Wigan before he left for Portsmouth in 2002. He had helped Portsmouth to win the title in the second tier and played a key role in ensuring the club retained their Premier League status
It was that experience which was a major attraction when Paul Jewell signed the then 35-year-old in mid-August in 2005. His know-how proved to be crucial in keeping Wigan away from danger in that first season in the top flight and he also played in the League Cup final defeat by Manchester United.
His second season was more disrupted by injuries, but he had already proved that it isn’t always the case that you should never go back.
A player who perhaps had a larger estimate of his own ability than was always shown on the pitch, Diame was signed by Roberto Martinez in August 2009 and was quickly thrown into the team for his debut against Manchester United. That ended in a 5-0 home defeat and a few days later he was part of the side beaten 4-1 at Blackpool in the League Cup.
His only goal from midfield in his first season came in a 1-1 draw at Sunderland and his second season started worse than the first as Wigan lost 4-0 and 6-0 at home to Blackpool and Chelsea, respectively. Diame did score twice in an FA Cup third round win at Hull City, but his return of seven goals in 103 appearances for Wigan was less than anticipated, especially for a player who had a powerful shot.
He then joined West Ham in 2012 on a free transfer after rejecting a new deal at Wigan as he sought a club to match his ambitions after repeated links with Liverpool. He’s now at Hull.
A curious signing by Martinez at the end of the transfer window in 2010, Di Santo arrived at Wigan in a £2million deal from Chelsea after scoring just once on loan at Blackburn the previous campaign. He maintained that level of consistency in his first year at Wigan as the Argentinian striker had to wait until April to score his first goal, which turned out to be a 90th minute consolation in a 4-2 defeat at Sunderland.
His second season was an improvement as he scored both goals in a 2-0 win over QPR early on before scoring a 90th minute winner at Sunderland. He also scored three goals in his last five games of the season against Arsenal, Newcastle and Wolves. There were signs early in the 2012/13 season that Di Santo would form a productive partnership with Arouna Kone as he scored three goals in his first six games.
But, despite a surprising call-up to the Argentina squad, Di Santo went 14 games without a goal before scoring equalisers against Fulham and Stoke. He was an unused substitute in the FA Cup final win over Manchester City and was released following Wigan’s relegation. He went on to join Werder Bremen and is now at Schalke.
Kilbane proved to be a solid signing by Jewell from Everton in a £2million deal late in August 2006. He was sent off on his final appearance for Everton and, after playing for the Republic of Ireland against Germany, his Wigan debut came against his former club in a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park. His goal in a 3-3 draw with Tottenham in April 2007 was his first at club level for two-and-a-half years and he scored more goals for Ireland than Wigan in his first year. Almost a year to the day he joined Wigan, he was sent off against Newcastle for two yellow cards. His other goal for Wigan, in 84 appearances for the club, was a crucial header in a 1-0 home win over West Ham which lifted them out of the relegation zone. Kilbane played at left-back for much of his second season at the club and eventually left for Hull in January 2009 having probably done as much as would have been expected of him.
Kone was an exciting signing from Levante in August 2012 after a good season in Spain, but he was to spend just one year at Wigan. He scored on his first start for the club in a 2-0 win at Southampton, but it was in the second half of the season when he popped up with some important goals.
He scored twice in a 3-0 win at Reading, after also scoring a brace against Huddersfield in the FA Cup, and he also scored a 90th minute winner against Newcastle and an 81st minute winner against Norwich. Kone also played the full match as Wigan beat Man City in the FA Cup final.
But, following Wigan’s relegation from the top flight, Kone decided he didn’t fancy playing in the Championship. He followed Martinez to Everton in a £6million deal after scoring 11 goals in 34 Premier League appearances. However, his time at Everton has been disrupted by injury as he missed over a year with a knee problem.
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