Latics ‘were right to keep Rod’

Hugo Rodallega at the end of the final match of the season against Wolves
Hugo Rodallega at the end of the final match of the season against Wolves

JONATHAN Jackson insists Wigan Athletic didn’t miss a trick by not cashing in on Hugo Rodallega during the January transfer window.

The Colombian hitman – Wigan’s all-time record Premier League goalscorer – will become a free agent this weekend after a largely-successful three-and-a-half year stay with Latics.

A Steve Bruce signing from Mexican outfit Necaxa in January 2009, Rodallega initially took time to settle into life in England.

But under the watchful eye of Roberto Martinez, Rodallega blossomed at the DW and more than repaid his £4.5million transfer fee with some important goals.

At the peak of his powers Rodallega was linked with big-money moves to Liverpool and Arsenal as well as top clubs on the continent.

But after seeing out his Wigan contract, Rodallega will be able to move on without a fee being payable.

And despite speculation back in January that Latics were looking to cash in rather than lose him for nothing, Jackson has defended the decision to hang on to the hitman.

“For any transfer to take place, there has to be agreement with three parties,” Jackson told the Evening Post.

“Both clubs and the player have to want the deal to happen – and we never achieved that with regards to Hugo.

“We moved on, and Hugo was our player for the rest of the season. At the time it was the right decision, and that remains the case.”

In fairness, any money on offer in January would only have been as fraction of Rodallega’s true worth, with the striker’s stock being at an all-time low.

Fitness and form issues meant he’d failed to notch a single goal by the turn of the year, and indeed his two goals during January – a deflected effort against Sunderland and a stunning free-kick at QPR – were his only ones of the campaign.

Celtic, Stoke and Aston Villa continue to be linked with Rodallega, who hit the post in his Latics farewell against Wolves on May 13.