Talking football: Gomez return's a Jor-dropper!
It's the best news '“ and the worst-kept secret '“ of the summer...Jordi Gomez is back home at Wigan!
Just over two years since leaving Latics after the disappointment of falling to QPR in the play-offs, the Spaniard is back where he belongs.
It’s fair to say his time at Sunderland didn’t work out for either party.
And Latics have certainly endured a down-and-up two years without him.
But he’s back now and determined to make up for lost time.
Looking at the Latics squad, midfield was probably the area of the side least in need of reinforcements.
You’ve got the top two from last year’s Player of the Year awards, David Perkins and Max Power.
There’s also Alex Gilbey, who’s really hit the ground running since his summer switch from Colchester.
Now there’s Shaun MacDonald, who only arrived at the weekend from Premier League Bournemouth.
Nick Powell has played much of his football in the engine room, Sam Morsy is kicking his heels on the sidelines, while Jordan Flores and Tim Chow are also champing at the bit for an opportunity.
But when the chance comes to land a player of the quality of Gomez, sometimes you just have to go for it.
His ability on the park, especially at this level, is undoubted, he knows the club inside out, and the fans – the vast majority anyway – absolutely love him.
The re-signing of Gomez is a real statement of intent from the club, and the board.
It’s interesting to see him only penning a one-year deal.
Which nicely takes us to the last of Wigan’s Premier League parachute payments.
It would have been easy for David Sharpe and Jonathan Jackson to get carried away in the moment and throw a three-year deal at a player they were clearly desperate to sign.
But they’ve bided their time, waited for his release from Sunderland, and offered a contract that will not place the long-term future of the club in jeopardy.
In the current climate, that is to be applauded.
But hopefully his contribution between now and the end of the season is such that those Premier League payments will be able to re-start in time for next season...and a contract extension for the boy from Barcelona!
What is it about Craig Davies and the Wigan 10k?
Just over a fortnight before this year’s race, Davies popped up off the bench in midweek to rescue Latics with his first goal since last year’s event!
Yes, incredibly, it’s 50 weeks since Davies smashed home a penalty in the unforgettable 3-2 win at Chesterfield – one of the highlights of a memorable campaign.
It’s actually three days short of a year since his last goal in open play – against Scunthorpe in a routine 3-0 win at the DW.
And when you see Davies playing as he did during his late cameo in midweek against Birmingham, it’s impossible to believe his barren spell.
Th ex-Wales international has everything in his locker to be a top striker at this level.
And with Gary Caldwell scouring the market to bring in striking reinforcements before the end of the month, maybe the right man is already at the club.
Davies, of course, has had plenty of opportunities since joining from Bolton last summer to prove he’s worthy of a start with Latics.
In fairness, he’s largely flattered to deceive.
But the way he also brought out the best in Will Grigg in the closing stages against Birmingham, may well have given Caldwell food for thought moving forwards.
Owen Coyle must have had mixed feelings as he returned to Wigan at the weekend.
All right, the over-riding emotion would have been mighty annoyance at the way his Blackburn side played at the DW, where they were second best for the 90 minutes.
But he would also have watched the masterful display of Nick Powell on his second Latics ‘debut’ and felt his judgement had been proved spot on.
It was Coyle who plucked Powell from the Manchester United reserve side three years ago, and saw him rip apart the Championship before going off the boil after Christmas.
Coyle, of course, had long gone by then, but the signs from Saturday – and in midweek against Birmingham – are that Powell has rediscovered his form of old.
Which bodes extremely badly for the rest of the Championship.
This week’s arrivals of Jordi Gomez and Shaun MacDonald appear to have closed the door on any hope of Sam Morsy staying at the DW Stadium.
The 24-year-old played a key role in last year’s promotion from League One, having joined mid-season from Chesterfield.
But he’s failed to get on to the field this term and, with speculation of interest from the likes of Sheffield United and Scunthorpe refusing to go away, it would be no surprise to see him move on.
If players of the calibre of Morsy are unable to even get on to the bench, it’s a sure sign that Latics are moving in the right direction.
Great to see Gary Neville back on Sky as part of the Monday Night Football coverage.
It obviously didn’t work out for him in La Liga management last term, but the ex-Manchester United and England man remains the top pundit in the game in this country.
Slightly further down the scale is former Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair, who suggested on Sky Sports News that Yannick Bolasie’s move to Everton could force him into the England reckoning.
Yep, that would be the same Yannick Bolasie who has scored seven goals in 27 internationals for the DR Congo...
One of the most shocking stories of the year was the incredibly sad death earlier this week of Dalian Atkinson at the ridiculously young age of 48.
The former Aston Villa man scored one of the most memorable goals of my childhood, a 50-yard run followed by an audacious chip at Wimbledon that won ‘Goal of the Season’ in 1992/93, the inaugural season of the Premier League.
Just as good was the celebration, when a bloke from behind the goal ran on and held his umbrella over the goalscorer, who happily lapped up the acclaim.
And I suspect it’s that Dalian Atkinson that most football fans will remember, rather than his untimely passing.