AN end to the Charles N’Zogbia saga looks to be in sight with Latics finally agreeing to sell their wing wizard to Aston Villa.
Following weeks of ‘will he, won’t he?’ speculation – and one failed £9million bid from the Midlanders – a compromise deal has finally been reached that should see N’Zogbia move to Villa Park and Roberto Martinez given the green light to crack on with his summer spending.
“The possibility to play for Villa is something I would like,” said N’Zogbia last night.
“I would be happy because they have greater aspirations than Wigan, and the challenge interests me.”
Dave Whelan has already promised every single penny of any outgoings this summer will go directly into Martinez’s pockets to spend on squad reinforcements.
And a replacement for N’Zogbia – Wigan’s top scorer last term with 10 goals in all competitions – will clearly be the No.1 priority with the big Premier League kick-off now just 18 days away.
Latics were already short in that department after Tom Cleverley returned to Manchester United at the end of last season, and it could be that Martinez looks to bring in two quality wide-men to complement rising star Victor Moses.
The names of Leeds pair Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel – an Ivory Coast team-mate of Steve Gohouri – have already been thrown up by the rumour mill, along with Newcastle’s Wayne Routledge and Hernan Bernardello of Spanish side Almeria.
Latics last night confirmed a deal had been done with Villa and, although no details were revealed, it’s thought the fee is just shy of the full £10million asking price.
The Frenchman, who had only 12 months left on his contract, is expected to hold talks over personal terms and undergo a medical in the next 24 hours.
One man who won’t be counting any chickens just yet is Villa boss Alex McLeish, who 12 months ago thought he had signed N’Zogbia when in charge of Birmingham, only for the deal to collapse at the 11th hour after Blues failed to agree personal terms with the player.