LEON Barnett should become Wigan Athletic’s ninth summer signing in the next 24 hours.
The Norwich centre-half was told he was free to find himself a new club as he didn’t feature in the plans of boss Chris Hughton.
And Latics have acted fast to beat off the competition to land the 27-year-old for around £500,000.
Barnett ended last term on loan with Cardiff, helping the Bluebirds win promotion to the Premier League for the first time.
And Owen Coyle will be hoping Barnett can repeat the trick this term with Latics looking to bounce back from the disappointment of relegation at the first attempt.
Barnett will add great versatility to the Wigan squad, able to slot in at full-back, centre-half and midfield.
After starting his career at Luton – who also produced Latics skipper Emmerson Boyce – he joined West Brom for £3million in 2007.
Barnett moved to Norwich three years later after a successful loan spell at Carrow Road, and helped the Canaries win promotion to the top flight in his first season.
After making his Premier League debut at Wigan in the 1-1 draw in August 2011, Barnett made 18 appearances as Norwich comfortably avoided relegation.
However, he fell out of favour last term, leading to a parting of ways this summer.
Barnett didn’t travel over to America with the rest of the Norwich squad for their recent tour, with Hughton prepared to cash in to bolster his own transfer kitty.
“He has shown a desire to play regular football, and of course I can understand that,” Hughton said.
“He is a good trainer, he works hard every day. I have no problems on that score.”
Latics have already raided Norwich this summer for Grant Holt, and Coyle admitted earlier this week he was on the verge of making his latest new signing.
“We’re pursuing a centre-back at the moment,” Coyle said.
“There is good dialogue between the two clubs so we’ll see how that transpires.
“I’m still trying to bring in one more striker as well, so we’re looking at three maybe four players in total.”
Barnett should go straight into the squad for Saturday’s Championship opener at Barnsley.
Fellow new-boy Juan Carlos Garcia has been in Paris securing his UK work permit.
And although he is match fit after starring for Honduras in the Gold Cup, it would be a major surprise if he was fast-tracked into the squad.
There is also a question mark about Thomas Rogne, whose Latics debut against Dundee United at the weekend was cut short by a back problem in the first half.
The Norwegian has been cleared of serious injury, but is well short of match fitness after a frustrating time following his move from Celtic.