WIGAN Athletic have confirmed that the transfer of Honduran international midfielder Roger Espinoza has been officially completed and the 26-year-old is eligible to play in tomorrow’s FA Cup 3rd Round tie with AFC Bournemouth.
Espinoza flew in to Wigan yesterday after securing a visa for the UK in New York earlier this week, and has now joined up with the rest of the Latics squad. He has put pen to paper on a two and a half year deal, having had a work permit granted in December.
He makes the move to the DW Stadium after four years with Kansas City Wizards in the MLS and says he is thrilled to have arrived: “I am just so happy to finally be here. It’s taken a while to get all the paper work done but now I can concentrate on fighting for my place and helping the team.
“I just want to say a big thank you to everyone at the club who have been working so hard to get everything through in time, and for the manager to have the belief in me. Now it’s down to business.”
Espinoza becomes the fourth Honduran international to play in Latics blue as he follows in the footsteps of Wilson Palacios and Hendry Thomas and joins his close friend Maynor Figueroa in the current squad.
Roberto Martinez is understandably delighted to have secured his second signing of the January window following the arrival of Angelo Henriquez from Manchester United earlier this week.
He said: “It is great to finally welcome Roger to Wigan and I know the supporters will give him a real Latics welcome.
“Usually players would have more time preparing for their debut and getting used to their new team-mates, but Roger is so desperate to play as soon as he can that we hope to see him on the pitch on Saturday.
“He is an excellent talent and every time we have seen him play he has shown the desire that as a club we like to see from our players.
“The Olympics in the summer gave a great example of just what he can do on the pitch, especially in his performances against Spain and Brazil.
“He’ll bring something new to the group and we hope to have many happy memories of him playing for Latics.”
Espinoza was born in Honduras but moved to Denver at the age of 12.
He spent his youth football career playing for Yavapai Roughriders (2004-05) and Ohio State Buckeyes (2006-07), going on to play in the National Premier Soccer League for Arizona Sahuaros. He was picked up by Kansas City Wizards in 2008 and went on to play 113 games for the club, scoring two goals. The club changed its name to Sporting Kansas City in 2010.
Having become a US Citizen in 2008, he had the chance to play for the USA but opted instead for Honduras and now has 25 Caps, scoring three times.
He was one of the stand out players at the London Olympic Games last summer and played in all four matches for the Honduran team, including a goal-scoring Man-of-The Match performance against Brazil.