Coyle: I never wanted to sell Ali

Ali Al Habsi
Ali Al Habsi
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OWEN Coyle is glad to be linking-up with Ali Al Habsi again – and admitted he never wanted to lose him in the first place.

Coyle was in charge of Bolton when he allowed the keeper to join Latics, initially on loan, and later on a permanent transfer.

And he reckons the Oman international will prove a “great asset” as they aim for a quick-return to the Premier League.

Coyle said: “I never wanted to sell Ali, as was well-documented at the time.

“But we needed to raise revenue to try to bring in an attacking player, and we had three outstanding goalkeepers at the football club.

“As well as Jussi Jaaskelainen, we had Adam Bogdan who is now a Hungarian international and everything we thought he would be.

“To be fair to Ali, he was an outstanding goalkeeper is his own right and had been No.2 to Jussi for a number of years.

“I looked at it from a player’s point of view, and thought that he needed to play football.

“Wigan came in with the loan move, he did very well, and it was only natural then that they did the deal to keep him.

“It was a good deal for everybody – a win, win, win situation.”

Al Habsi fell behind loan star Joel Robles at the end of last season but is expected to be reinstated as Wigan’s No.1.

“Having Ali here will be a great asset to me, because he is an outstanding man as well as an outstanding goalkeeper,” added Coyle.

“It’ll be nice to link up with him again and he’ll be a key man for us.”