Former Manchester United winger Gabriel Obertan and £1million man Omar Bogle were the headline arrivals on an incredible transfer deadline day, with Wigan Athletic moving out four players and bringing in an astonishing EIGHT new signings.
Obertan, who was a free agent after leaving Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, joins on a short-term deal until the end of the season, and replaces Yanic Wildschut, whose £7million move to Norwich was confirmed seconds before the 11pm cut-off.
“Gabriel adds great experience to the squad, and offers us another option in the wide areas,” said boss Warren Joyce. “He’s a top professional with great quality.”
Obertan was one of three United old-boys to join in the space of a few hours, after the loan acquisition of Hull pair Alex Bruce and James Weir for the rest of the campaign.
Centre-back Bruce, 32, hasn’t featured for the Tigers this season, while midfielder Weir, 21, has only appeared in three EFL Cup games since his summer switch from United.
But Joyce clearly feels they can add quality and depth to the squad ahead of the run-in.
“Alex knows this division inside out, he is street-wise and understands exactly what we need over the next three months,” Joyce acknowledged. “He adds tremendous competition to the squad.”
On Weir, he added: “I know James well and he has great potential.
“He is tremendously versatile, hard-working boy who can play in a number of positions, including as a winger,”
First to arrive early in the day was Rangers goalkeeper Matt Gilks, who penned an 18-month deal, with Eastleigh striker Mikael Mandron joining on a two-and-a-half-year contract.
Mandron was recommended to Latics by Andy Welch, who joined the coaching staff from Sunderland last week, having appeared on the radar of Joyce at junior level.
“The manager knew me from back at Sunderland where I played against his Manchester United side a few times,” Mandron explained.
“He says he’s always liked me and he sees potential in me and that, with the work we’ll do here, I will grow and get better. This is most definitely a step up, but I am always looking for the next challenge.”
Also penning a two-and-a-half-year deal was Hartlepool midfielder Josh Laurent, who the manager feels can handle the step up in quality.
“Josh is a player the club has been watching all season, and we feel he has the potential to shine at a higher level of football, given the right environment and the time in which to develop,” revealed Joyce.
And despite the clock ticking past 11pm, Latics weren’t done, as they fought off competition from a number of clubs to land the highly-coveted Bogle from Grimsby on a two-and-a-half-year contract, and Manchester City’s Ireland U-21 international Jack Byrne on a three-and-a-half-year deal.
Heading out of the door with Wildschut was loan striker Adam Le Fondre, who was recalled by parent club Cardiff and immediately loaned out to Bolton.
Jordi Gomez had been a shock departure in the morning, with Rayo Vallecano taking over his contract until the end of the season.
And the fourth man out of the door was Northern Ireland striker Billy Mckay, who was recalled from a loan spell at Oldham in order to join Scottish outfit Inverness, from whom they signed him two years ago.