One in the bag, more to follow?

Albert Crusat signs for Wigan Athletic
Albert Crusat signs for Wigan Athletic

ROBERTO Martinez is preparing to burn the midnight oil as he works against the clock to bolster his Wigan Athletic squad.

The Wigan boss yesterday completed the signing of winger Albert Crusat from Spanish outfit Almeria – as predicted in Monday’s Evening Post – and is expected to tie up a deal for Celtic forward Shaun Maloney later today.

That would take his summer signing spree to five – following the captures earlier in the summer of Ali Al Habsi, David Jones and Nouha Dicko – and Martinez is hoping there may be time for one more incoming as the clock ticks towards the 11pm transfer deadline.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it went all the way to the wire again – right to the final minute,” Martinez told the Evening Post.

“Possibilities are always presented really late in the window, and we are in a position to be open to anything that may come up.

“I’m hoping to be able to tell the fans about another signing, but at the moment it’s a bit too early to be talking about names – out of respect to the other clubs involved.

“It’s true we are working to try to finalise another couple of deals, but the priority was always Albert.

“He is the one we wanted the most and it’s great to get it done well before the deadline.

“But I would say we definitely need one more player – that is the minimum we are looking for. And if we could then get another, that would be a bonus – and that’s what we’ll be trying to do.”

Crusat, 29, popped into town yesterday to put pen to paper on a two-year deal, with an option for a third year, having been a target ever since Martinez took charge two years ago.

“Albert is an explosive player, very quick and I’m sure the fans will enjoy watching him play,” Martinez revealed.

“He can play in either of the two wide areas and has a great understanding of the game.

“Albert is at the peak of his career, and has great experience of playing against some of the best teams in the world. I’ve always felt his attributes are perfect for the British game, and we’re getting him at the right age.

“At 29, he is ready for the new experience and I can’t wait to see him get going.”

Crusat, who was born in Barcelona and came through the ranks at Espanyol, added: “It’s been a crazy few days but I am really looking forward to the challenge of playing in the English league now everything has been done.

“Roberto Martinez has shown great faith in me and I am determined to prove him right. I can’t wait to meet my new team-mates and get started.”