A busy deadline day ensured WIGAN ATHLETIC were the busiest team in the entire Football League during the January transfer window.
This was Warren Joyce’s first window since becoming Latics boss and with his side battling to avoid relegation from the Championship, no less than 13 players were brought into the DW Stadium in January, with 8 new signings made on deadline day.
Gabriel Obertan (above) was the most high-profile arrival, with the former Man United midfielder signing until the end of the season. The Frenchman, who is still only 27, left Newcastle last summer to sign a 2-year-deal with Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, but he was released after new owners took over last month.
Joyce is the former reserve-team coach at United and he brought in another 2 players with Old Trafford links, with centre-half Alex Bruce and midfielder James Weir both arriving on loan from Hull till the summer.
Joyce paid an undisclosed fee to sign 5 other players, including 22-year-old striker Mikael Mandron (Eastleigh), 21-year-old midfielder Josh Laurent (Hartlepool) and 23-year-old striker Omar Bogle (Grimsby). All signed 2-and-a-half-year deals with Latics.
Former Blackpool and Rochdale keeper Matt Gilks arrived on an 18-month deal from Rangers while 20-year-old midfielder Jack Byrne was handed a 3-and-a-half-year contract after moving from Man City.
Keeper Jakob Haugaard (Stoke) was signed on loan earlier in the month, along with defenders Callum Connolly (Everton) and Jamie Hanson (Derby), as well as midfield pair Ryan Tunnicliffe (Fulham) and Marcus Browne (West Ham).
The biggest departure on deadline day was winger Yanic Wildschut, who submitted a transfer request on Monday before a £7m move to Championship rivals Norwich was finalised just before the deadline.
Wigan chairman David Sharpe said after the transfer request: “This is not the way to repay the faith we have shown in him. I’ve always had a good relationship with Yanic and I feel he has let the club, his team mates and our supporters down by taking this action.”
He later added: “We were disappointed in the manner that Yanic behaved, and we made that clear. Nevertheless, it is correct that we should still thank him for his contribution these past 15 months and wish him the best for the future.”
Jordi Gomez ended his second spell with the club to return to his homeland with Rayo Vallecano. The Spanish midfielder was part of Latics’ FA Cup-winning side and made a total of 179 appearances.
He said: “Wigan Athletic will always be a club so close to my heart because of what has happened in the past, and I want to say goodbye and thank you to all the supporters.” Joyce added: “Prior to my arrival here, Jordi had asked whether he could go back to Spain if something came up in this transfer window and we wish him all the best.”
After seeing Jordan Flores (Blackpool) and Danny O’Brien (Chester) secure loan moves on Monday, Billy Mckay was recalled from Oldham to join Inverness Caledonian Thistle on loan.
Meanwhile, Wigan’s on-loan striker Adam Le Fondre was recalled by Cardiff so that he could make a loan move to League One Bolton instead. Ravel Morrison had been training with Latics but agreed a loan move from Lazio to QPR on deadline day.