Dutch link influenced Bouaouzan

New Latics winger Rachid Bouaouzan admits Mario Melchiot and Denny Landzaat were a big influence in him moving to the JJB Stadium.

The three Dutchmen share the same agent, with Wigan skipper Melchiot and midfielder Landzaat picking him up from Manchester Airport when he came for talks last week.

Bouaouzan completed a 400,000 transfer from Sparta Rotterdam on Thursday and watched his new team-mates in action at Newcastle.

He played for the reserves in a goalless draw at

Blackburn last night, and hopes to be involved in the next Premier League game against Fulham at the JJB a week on Saturday.

Bouaouzan told the Evening Post: "Mario and Denny were very positive about the club, that was a big factor in me signing.

"They have the same agent as myself, and when I arrived at the airport to come for talks, they came for me which was a big welcome.

"It's good to be here, English football is great and the Premier League is one of the strongest in the world.

"I hope to make my debut in the Fulham game and that's something I will

be working hard for in training."

The 23-year-old will provide cover on either side of midfield and can also play up front.

His versatility was an attractive proposition for Latics manager Chris Hutchings.

He had other clubs chasing him after expressing a desire to leave Rotterdam, but thinks he has made the right choice in coming to Wigan.

Bouaouzan said: "I knew of Wigan's interest four weeks ago, they came to watch a game and were impressed.

"Bolton were interested too, so were FC Utrecht and Feyenoord in Holland.

"I had a medical at Feyenoord but afterwards I didn't hear anything, so I chose to go elsewhere.

"Wigan were my first choice, my agent spoke to Bolton but I didn't."

"I think I have got a lot to offer Wigan, I can play on the left or right wing, or as a second striker."

Bouaouzan hit the headlines in Holland for all the wrong reasons three years ago after a tackle on Niels Kokmeijer which broke the Go Ahead Eagles player's leg in two places and ended his career.

He was taken to court and given a suspended prison sentence, as well as receiving a 10-match ban from the Dutch football authorities.

But Hutchings says the incident is in the past, and hopes Bouaouzan can be judged on his football abilities here.

He said: "This is a new start for Rachid, and what he did in Holland is something he has to cut out of his game.

"The main thing is for him to perform for us on the pitch and put what has happened in the past, that's gone."

Meanwhile, Fitz Hall has been linked with a loan move to the Championship.

With Titus Bramble and Andreas Granqvist currently the first-choice pairing at centre-half, and Emmerson Boyce now fit after a hip

injury, Hall is down the pecking order.

He didn't make the bench at Newcastle, fuelling rumours he could be set for a temporary move once the Football League's emergency loan system kicks-in later this month.

Stoke and Cardiff are two of the clubs reported to be interested in Hall, who joined Latics for 3m 14 months ago.

But letting Hall go on a temporary basis would leave Latics short of defensive cover.