Ali Al Habsi is at last a Wigan Athletic player, after an extremely impressive loan spell here last term showed enough for Roberto Martinez to give the Oman International a 4 year deal at the DW Stadium.
Al Habsi fast became a fans favourite after a disasterous start to the 2010-2011 season saw Chris Kirkland axed and the Bolton loanee never looked back. The official statement reads;
Wigan Athletic can confirm that last season’s Player of The Year Ali Al Habsi has signed on a permanent transfer from Bolton Wanderers, for an undisclosed fee.
The Omani international goalkeeper proved to be a big success whilst on a season-long loan at the DW Stadium in 2009-2010 and after a fee was agreed between the clubs last week, Al Habsi has returned from holiday to undergo a medical and put pen to paper on a four year contract.
The 29 year old played 34 times for Latics in the Barclays Premier League last season, making his debut in the victory at Tottenham Hotspur in August, and then going on to help the team register the fewest number of defeats in the club’s Premier League history, just 14. In all, he kept eight clean sheets, including the vital one in the final game at Stoke City. He also made a further five appearances in cup competitions.
Manager Roberto Martinez said, “We are delighted to announce the best possible news for Wigan Athletic in securing Ali permanently.
“During his loan at our football club last season, Ali brought a great degree of professionalism in his daily work and put in many outstanding performances in the Premier League.
“Goalkeeping is a very specific position and we are very pleased that we are going to be very strong in this department going into the new season.
“Being voted Player of The Season reflects the huge impression that Ali had on the pitch but also the feeling of the supporters towards him.
“After making it really clear that he wanted to play for Wigan Athletic moving forwards we’ve done everything possible to make this happen.
“The Chairman and everyone at the football club are delighted that Ali will be staying and I’m sure every single Latics fan will feel extremely proud and be able to enjoy a great day after hearing this news.”
Ali Al Habsi joined Bolton in 2006 but made just 10 league appearances in that time.
He said: “I am very happy. I want to thank everyone at Bolton for helping me get established in this country but I need to be playing first team football, and hopefully, if I can stay fit and keep doing my best, I will get the chance again at Wigan.
“I think the gaffer is building a really exciting young team here and I am thrilled that I can be a part of that again. I am so grateful that the gaffer gave me the chance to prove what I can do and now I want to repay him, and the Wigan fans, for making me so welcome last season.”
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