LATICS boss Roberto Martinez declared himself more than satisfied after pulling off a double raid to beat the transfer deadline last night.
First up was the capture of Celtic forward Shaun Maloney – as forecast by the Evening Post yesterday – on a two-year contract, with the option of a third year.
Then, right out of leftfield, came the surprise move for Holland Under-21 international defender Patrick van Aanholt on a season-long loan from Chelsea.
It brings Martinez’s total number of summer signings to six, after the acquisitions of Ali Al Habsi, David Jones, Nouha Dicko and Albert Crusat.
Scotland international Maloney is a former team-mate of Gary Caldwell at Celtic Park, and joins for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £1million.
He was named Scottish Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year in 2006, which led to a short spell at Aston Villa between 2007-8 before he returned to Celtic.
At the age of 28, Maloney is now in his peak years, and Martinez believes he will greatly enhance Wigan’s options in the attacking third.
“We’re delighted to welcome Shaun, who has great experience and is at the perfect age to come and bring something different to our squad,” said Martinez.
“His previous experience in the Premier League will be a great platform to start his Wigan Athletic career, and now we want to make sure he enjoys that homely feeling at our football club and be able to bring his magic to our strong group of players.”
Maloney himself is determined to make his mark south of the border at the second time of asking.
“As soon as I found out about the move I got excited,” he said.
“The gaffer likes to play the right way and there’s a tremendous squad here, full of great potential.
“Firstly I need to focus on winning a place in the team and doing the best I can for the team.
“It’s an exciting challenge now and I can’t wait to get started.”
Barely seconds after closing the Maloney deal, Martinez then swooped for left-sided defender van Aanholt.
Of the 21-year-old, Martinez added: “Patrick is a player with enormous potential. Technically he is very gifted, very comfortable in possession, and he uses his physicality and intensity to defend very effectively.
“He can play left-back or left wing-back, and without a doubt he’s got a phenomenal career ahead of him.
“Like Tom Cleverley last year, he is a young player who is hungry to learn his trade, and I feel both parties can benefit hugely from the move.”
Van Aanholt, who started his career at PSV Eindhoven, has already spent time on loan at Coventry, Newcastle and Leicester, and has made eight appearances for Chelsea, scoring one goal.
On a busy deadline day, Latics also came up just short in their attempts to land Chilean winger Jean Beausejour from Birmingham, while long-term target Shaun Wright-Phillips joined QPR from Manchester City.