Obertan ‘begged to join Latics’

Gabriel Obertan
Gabriel Obertan

Gabriel Obertan was so desperate to join Wigan Athletic on deadline day it was he who put the deal in place, revealed a delighted Warrren Joyce!

The former Manchester United winger was one of eight arrivals on a frantic day of activity, with four players also moving on to other clubs.

Rather than it be a case of Latics pursuing the Frenchman, Joyce admits it was Obertan – a free agent after leaving Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala – who made it happen.

“I was thinking of trying to get Gaby in, but he’d changed his number since I last worked with him,” said Joyce. “I tried to get hold of it from Patrice Evra but, out of the blue, Gaby suddenly rings up and says: ‘Will you sign me?’

“He’s got Crystal Palace, Nantes, Lille offering him millions to play for them, but he’s not bothered about money.

“He’s gone for £20million-plus in transfer fees in his time, and now he’s on what is probably the smallest wage he’s ever had in his life.

“He’s only 27, he’s a good pro, he’s a good lad, he’s desperate to play football...and that’s a big positive.”

Obertan had been assumed to be the straight replacement for Yanic Wildschut, who joined Norwich for £7million on deadline day.

But Joyce says it’s up front where the player could end up making an impression.

“I’d always look at Gaby as a striker – I always used him down the middle at Manchester United,” Joyce added.

“There was a hell of a lot of demands placed on him at Manchester United – he was described as the new Ronaldo at 20 years of age.

“That would be daunting for anyone, especially when you’re only getting a chance every blue moon. But he’s matured a hell of a lot with the experiences he’s had.

“He’s just desperate to reignite his career and do well for this football club. And his best years are to come.”

Having built up his new signing, Joyce did sound a note of caution about when Latics fans will see him play.

“He’s obviously not done much work for a few weeks, and he’s one we’ll have to build up,” the Latics boss acknowledged. “But you’ve got to look at what he could be like in three or four weeks if we build him up right.”

Joyce also confirmed Wigan’s attempts to land Ravel Morrison –fell down largely due to financial reasons.

“You’re talking vast, vast sums of money, and it was something that couldn’t be thrashed out,” said Joyce.