Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook on hopes of loan star Antonee Robinson returning

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Paul Cook insists he’d rather not have to deal with the loan market this summer – but the Wigan Athletic boss feels it will once again be an inevitable source of recruitment.

Latics arguably pulled off the loan swoop of last summer with the acquisition of Chelsea youngster Reece James, who went on to win every single one of the club’s end-of-season awards.

Christian Walton (Brighton) and Antonee Robinson (Everton) were also regulars, while Leon Clarke joined from Sheffield United in January to help the survival bid.

Despite that success, Cook would rather invest time and effort into players who belong to the club, who would then reap the long-term benefits.

But having lost a dozen members of his squad over the summer, he says it could come down to needs-must in the short term.

“We’ve done really well in the loan window, we really have,” he told the Wigan Post.

“It’s not always an easy market, it can be very difficult.

“There’s plenty of clubs who’ve used the system well, on both sides.

"But there’s also clubs who experienced disappointment with arrangements.

“The problem with the loan market, obviously, is you don’t own the player.

"And if that player improves for all to see, it’s another club who’s going to reap the rewards.

“If you then want to buy that player, you’ve actually put pounds on to the fee that his club will then be asking for.

“In an ideal world, we want to be fielding our own players, and improving our own players.

“But it’s obviously not an ideal world, and the likelihood is we will be going back to the loan market to see what we can find.”

Walton has spent the last two years on loan with Latics, and there has been talk Latics are trying to bring back Robinson – if not for a second loan then on a permanent basis.

Cook, though, played a textbook straight bat when asked on the subject.

“I appreciate the media has a job to do, and I understand the speculation,” he said.

“But it’s grossly unfair on lads to be talking in public about their futures.

"There’s talk of us signing Jedi (Robinson), but then we don’t get him, we get another left-back.

“What I can say is we are working very hard behind the scenes to bring in good players.

“Players who have been here already, obviously we will know more about them than players who haven’t, and would give them a head start.

“But does that mean we will be bringing in lads like that? Not necessarily.”