LATICS boss Uwe Rosler reckons a fighting fit Shaun Maloney could be his best ‘new’ recruit for next season.
Maloney missed over half of last season after undergoing hip surgery in America in September.
The Scotland star – Wigan’s Player of the Year in 2012/3 – was a big miss as Latics struggled to get going in the first half of the campaign.
Maloney returned in time for the business end, but was unable to steer Latics through the play-offs and back into the Premier League.
But Rosler believes the 31-year-old will take the Championship by storm next term with a full pre-season under his belt.
“Shaun will be like a new player for me, I am really looking forward to working with him next season,” Rosler told the Evening Post.
“It was very important for him to be able to come back at the end of last season and already show his importance to the team.
“But having him from day one this season, with a full pre-season under his belt, it makes me excited about what we can achieve.
“Shaun will be a central player to how we design our offensive shape.”
Maloney was the subject of transfer speculation earlier in the summer, with Roberto Martinez’s Everton believed to be monitoring his situation.
James McArthur was also being reportedly lined up by Premier League new-boys Burnley, but Rosler is determined that the Scotland duo will be staying at the DW.
“Before the World Cup started there were a few rumours about McArthur and Maloney,” Rosler said.
“But I have spoken to them and they know they are two of the cornerstones of the team.
“Both players will be massively important in my plans going forward and I made that very clear to both of them.”
Rosler is far more concerned with bringing players in to his squad rather than losing them, with four new-boys having travelled to this week’s training camp in Germany.
The Latics chief is still actively seeking other targets ahead of the new campaign, but insists he will not be rushed or forced to pay over the odds.
“We are continuing to work hard,” Rosler added. “David Downes, our head of recruitment, has been very busy – not only in England but also abroad, to bring in targets.
“We feel the market in England is over-heated in certain areas, and we have been determined not to pay a premium just for the sake of it.
“That said, in the crucial positions, we were anxious to bring in players as soon as possible. New players always need time to adapt to a new club, new team-mates, new staff and to get familiar with the way we play.
“The results will be interesting – I believe we will be able to put together an interesting team next season.”