OWEN Coyle has already lined up three new striker signings to offset the impending loss of Arouna Kone to Everton.
The Wigan manager expects last season’s leading goalscorer to seal his move to Goodison Park ‘sooner rather than later’.
And he is champing at the bit to bolster a frontline that will shortly be lacking a single recognised No.9 with Mauro Boselli and Franco di Santo having already left the club.
“It’s fair to say we are looking for a minimum of two, possibly three, strikers, and we’re working desperately hard to make that happen,” Coyle told the Evening Post.
“Arouna has done well for this club, but at this moment in time we need players who want to be here and want to take Wigan Athletic back into the Premier League.
“That gives us the chance at this early stage of summer to adjust our thinking and bring in the necessary quality to the forward line.”
One of those strikers could well be Grant Holt, with the Norwich striker believed to be high on Coyle’s wanted list.
In the meantime, the Scot is hoping to wrap up a couple of other deals in the next 24 hours.
Ex-England goalkeeper Scott Carson is finally expected to put pen to paper after his move from Turkish outfit Bursaspor was held up by a technicality.
And utility man James Perch could well become Coyle’s fifth signing inside a week if the finer points of his transfer from Newcastle, believed to be worth £1million, can be ironed out.
That fee will come out of the Kone cash, after Everton pipped Norwich, Swansea and West Brom to his signature.
Kone has been strongly linked with the Toffees since Roberto Martinez took over last month.
It was always going to be impossible for Latics to keep hold of the 29-year-old, especially when his release clause – believed to be £6.5million – became public knowledge.
The Ivorian will become Martinez’s first signing since succeeding David Moyes on Merseyside.
While mindful of Kone’s abilities, Coyle says the move is in the best interests of all parties.
And it will strengthen his hand in the transfer market, with Dave Whelan having already confirmed all player sales will go into his transfer kitty.
“There’s no point being evasive – we expect Kone will go, sooner rather than later,” Coyle added.
“The clause we all know he has in his contract is close to being triggered, and he has indicated he would like to leave.
“Probably the only ones who didn’t have to be made aware of that clause are Everton, because obviously Roberto and his staff were party to the contract when the clause went in.
“The agent has indicated to us that Arouna has chosen his preferred destination, which is Everton.”
Coyle says any incomings will have to share the same attitude of Chris McCann, Stephen Crainey and Thomas Rogne, who all turned their back on better offers elsewhere to join Latics.
“You can have the greatest player in the world, but if their heart’s not in the fight then you won’t get the best out of them,” Coyle remarked.
“The lads we have brought in all had better offers from elsewhere, but they all bought into the big picture of what we’re trying to do here – and those are the type of player we want here.”
Latics will face Dundee United at the DW on Saturday, July 27 (3pm). Tickets cost £10 adults and £5 concessions.