WIGAN Athletic are on the brink of making Arsenal youngster Ryo Miyaichi their third summer signing.
The Japan international is understood to have agreed terms on a season-long loan, and it’s hoped he will put pen to paper within the next 24 hours.
Miyaichi spent the second half of last term on loan at Bolton, and put in a series of impressive performances as the Trotters battled unsuccessfully against the drop.
Owen Coyle was desperate to extend Miyaichi’s stay at the Reebok into this season, but Arsene Wenger was insistent the player should continue his development in the Premier League.
And Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has moved fast to bring him to the DW Stadium.
Wenger would have witnessed from afar the huge strides made by Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley during his year on loan at Wigan the season before last.
After 12 months under Martinez’s tutelage, Cleverley has since established himself as a first-teamer at Old Trafford, made the Team GB Olympic squad and has just been named in the England squad for Wednesday’s friendly against Italy.
Miyaichi is currently away on international duty with the Japanese national squad, but could make his debut against Chelsea in Sunday’s big Premier League opener if there are no hold-ups.
The 19-year-old follows Fraser Fyvie and Ivan Ramis in joining Latics this summer, although the squad is still looking lighter than last term given the departures of Momo Diame, Hugo Rodallega, Hendry Thomas, Steve Gohouri and Chris Kirkland.
And Martinez remains hopeful of bringing in at least one more new face before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
That figure may be altered if Chelsea succeed in luring Victor Moses to Stamford Bridge.
But the money on offer from the European champions is still short of Wigan’s valuation of a player who is out of contract next summer, but would not be eligible for a Bosman free transfer because he is under the age of 24.
LATICS went down to defeat in their last friendly before the start of the new Premier League season.
After going down 2-0 to La Liga outfit Real Mallorca last weekend, Wigan suffered more Spanish misery as they lost 1-0 away to Celta Vigo.
Roberto Martinez’s men were without Gary Caldwell, Shaun Maloney, Antolin Alcaraz, Jean Beausejour and James McCarthy, who are away on international duty.
And they couldn’t respond to Iago Aspas’ goal at the start of the second period.
New signing Ivan Ramis only lasted 37 minutes before giving way to Jordan Mustoe, and Latics were rocked when Aspas found himself unmarked to find the net shortly after the reastart.
Latics were indebted to goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi for keeping them in the game with a couple of fine saves around the hour mark.
And not even the late introduction of James McArthur, who had recovered from a back problem to make his first appearance in pre-season, could inspire a comeback.