Whelan predicts quiet summer

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DAVE Whelan expects this summer to be relatively quiet in terms of ins-and-outs as Wigan Athletic prepare for a seventh season of top-flight football.

Wigan’s strong end to the campaign means Roberto Martinez’s biggest task will be holding on to his prize assets as opposed to looking to bring in new blood to reinforce the squad.

There will be two definite spaces in the squad to fill, with Ali Al Habsi and Tom Cleverley coming to the end of their successful season-long loan deals from Bolton and Manchester United respectively.

Hopes remain high that Al Habsi will be joining on a permanent deal, while Martinez has not given up hope of United allowing Cleverley to stay with Wigan for another year.

But with other clubs monitoring Al Habsi, it could be that Latics end up requiring new blood to fill both positions, while the likes of Charles N’Zogbia, James McCarthy and Hugo Rodallega continue to be linked with big-money exits.

Whelan, though, is predicting a quiet time on the recruitment front – at least for the time being.

“It’s very early days yet – a few weeks before the season starts, that’s when it all begins,” he told the Evening Post. “Managers, players, chairmen, etc all take their holidays around now, so I wouldn’t expect anything to happen for the next fortnight or so. Then it all kicks off.

“Now is the time to be assessing the finances, how much you’ve got to spend, what kind of players you want to be bringing in – and it’s the same at every club.

“But our team finished on a high, they were consistent over a two-to-three month period, and I don’t honestly think it needs that much reinforcing.”

Liverpool were mentioned again over the weekend as potential suitors for McCarthy, but Whelan is confident of holding on to the Irish international. “James is a quality young player, and the intention is to be keeping hold of players of that calibre,” Whelan added.

“In the end, of course, you have to let them go, there’s no question about that.

“It’s how long you can keep them here – and it also depends what the lad himself wants to do.

“You have to listen to players’ demands and the reasons for that, and you have to be realistic with everybody. But it’s too early to be analysing any of that.

“At this moment in time, we don’t know if anybody is coming in for any of our players, and whether those players would want to leave if we decided they could go.”