Ali future uncertain

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ALI Al Habsi will take “a fantastic, holiday” before considering his next move as a number of Premier League clubs fight it out for his signature.

The Oman goalkeeper played the final game of his season-long loan on Sunday, keeping a clean sheet as Latics beat Stoke 1-0 to clinch their place in the top flight for a seventh season in a row.

Whether he’ll return to parent club Bolton on a full-time basis is unclear, however, with Jussi Jaaskelainen the long-term No.1 at the Reebok.

Al Habsi admitted last week he would be unwilling to go back to being a back-up stopper after his year in the spotlight at Wigan, who would love to make the move permanent subject to the right price being agreed.

The presence of rumoured admirers Arsenal and Aston Villa in the wings muddies the waters further, but Al Habsi says he won’t be rushed into making a decision.

“It’s not the right time to be talking about my future,” he told the Evening Post.

“The only thing that mattered was beating Stoke on Sunday and staying in this league.

“I’ve played my last game for now, and we don’t know what the future holds just yet.

“Now I am going to relax and have a fantastic holiday, and celebrate Wigan staying in the Premier League. The rest will take care of itself.”

Al Habsi admits the shut-out at the Britannia was “the most important clean sheet of my career”, and was struggling to keep a lid on his emotions as he reflected on a dramatic weekend.

“What a fantastic day for our fans, first of all,” he added.

“It’s been a long season, but we have to be proud of what we as a club have achieved.

“The fans mean so much to me, they’ve been amazing all season and I was very proud to have been voted ‘Player of the Season’ by them.

“You can’t imagine how happy that made me feel.

“I’ve thanked the gaffer a thousand times for the opportunity he has given me at this club, and I’m so happy to have not let him and the club down.

“Thank you to everybody at Wigan Athletic for everything they’ve done for me – I wish everyone good luck in the years to come.”

Although the season went right down to the wire, Al Habsi admitted he always had a good feeling Wigan would survive.

“We were confident that, despite the many different outcomes, a win would keep us up,” he said.

“I wasn’t sure of the scores from elsewhere in the league, but you could see by the fans’ reaction throughout the game that things were either in our favour or not.

“Then Hugo scored towards the end – and we knew then that we were safe.”