ROBERTO Martinez says Wigan Athletic will benefit from allowing El-Hadji Diouf to train with them – even if the controversial striker doesn’t end up signing.
Diouf, a free agent after leaving Blackburn last month, has trained with Latics this week primarily to maintain his match sharpness as he ponders his next move.
But fans and the media alike have been putting two and two together, with the internet and social networking sites in meltdown over the prospect of him joining full-time.
Martinez insists such talk is premature – for the moment admitting only that both parties will ‘see what develops’.
But he has been left bemused at the attention that’s been generated.
“Obviously El-Hadji being here will create a bit of hype, but I really don’t see it as a big issue,” Martinez told the Evening Post.
“At the moment, all we have is a straight-forward situation where a very good friend of Ali Al Habsi has asked if he can train with us to keep himself fit.
“We are happy to allow him to do that, because it’s a good arrangement for us too.
“It’s great to have a player of his experience and knowledge about the place, and if all parties can benefit then that’s great.
“He’s a good boy, he always has a big smile on his face and it’s been good to have him here.”
Diouf has not been the only new arrival at Christopher Park this week, although the other fresh face has more than a familiar look about it.
Goalkeeper Richard Kingson, who spent a couple of years with Latics before being released in the summer of 2010, is also training with the club, after parting company with Blackpool.
“He didn’t get as much hype as Dioufy, but Richard has been here for a few days as well,” added Martinez.
“Richard is a phenomenal professional and we are delighted to have him back.
“When you see a player who asks to come back to his old club to train, it’s a real compliment to the staff and the standards we have here.
“Hopefully he’ll be given a good opportunity very soon to write a new chapter in his career.
“We’ll help Richard as much as we can, and in return we’ll get a unique pro on the training ground which I’m always up for.”
However, with four senior stoppers already on the books, Martinez says there is no chance of him becoming a permanent fixture.
“That would be very difficult, because Richard wants to play on a weekly basis – and he has to at his age,” Martinez added.
“With us already having Ali Al Habsi, Chris Kirkland, Mike Pollitt and Lee Nicholls, there is no real possibility of us offering him anything.
“But that was never the plan – the plan was for Richard to come in and enjoy the relationship he has with Inaki (Bergara, goalkeeping coach) and the rest of the lads, and he has done that.”