Wigan Athletic: Transfer window from start to finish

Leam Richardson would have been forgiven for breathing a huge sigh of relief when the transfer window slammed shut on Tuesday night.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 11:36 am
Leam Richardson

It ended a crazy summer that began with Latics having just five players on the books – with less than three months to go before the start of another League One campaign.

Gavin Massey quickly triggered an extension to join Tom Pearce, Luke Robinson, Adam Long, Thelo Aasgaard and Callum Lang on the staff, but the canvas was still looking worrying blank.

Contract offers were made to, and accepted by, Jamie Jones, Tendayi Darikwa and Will Keane. But there were knockbacks from George Johnston and Lee Evans, who opted to join Bolton and Ipswich respectively.

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Latics moved quickly from the disappointment of Johnston’s decision, confirming the capture of Portsmouth’s defensive leader Jack Whatmough within the hour.

Richardson also got one back on Ipswich by taking Gwion Edwards, who turned down a new deal at Portman Road to move north.

The pair were soon joined by Whatmough’s ex-Pompey captain Tom Naylor, who had reportedly already completed a medical at his hometown club Mansfield before Latics registered their interest.

The engine room was further bolstered twice in the space of 24 hours, with Jordan Cousins arriving from Stoke and Max Power confirming an emotional return from Sunderland.

Latics secured their sixth summer signing by the end of June with Charlton goalkeeper Ben Amos also turning down an extended deal with his current club to join the DW rebuild.

Unbeknown to us, Power had been working hard behind the scenes to persuade one of his former Sunderland team-mates to follow him to Wigan.

But while it would have been no surprise to see Will Grigg follow Power ‘home’ there were plenty of eyebrows raised when Charlie Wyke instead appeared out of nowhere.

He was soon soon joined by Rochdale striker Stephen Humphrys, with the forward positions looking extremely solid – although the backline was looking a tad more thin.

Latics then went the best part of a month before continuing their recruitment, with another ex-Sunderland man – Jordan Jones – joining on the eve of the season opener at the Stadium of Light.

Perhaps the shipping of two poor goals in a 2-1 defeat underlined the need for defensive reinforcements, because Kell Watts soon arrived on loan from Newcastle.

James McClean’s return from Stoke – after a brief flirtation with Bolton – made local and national headlines, before Preston’s Tom Bayliss became the final piece in the engine room.

As the clocked into deadline day, Latics still looked light at the back, and the triple capture of former Cardiff left-back Joe Bennett, St Johnstone captain Jason Kerr and Rotherham centre-back Curtis Tilt – who enjoyed a hugely successful loan spell here last term – righted that wrong.

Latics were able to repel a late bid from Barnsley to take Tom Pearce to Oakwell, as they ended the window looking in fantastic shape.

Fifteen players out, fifteen players in, and undoubtedly a stronger look to the squad at the end of the window than the end of last season.

The Latics boss will probably look to loan out a couple of the younger players to continue their development, but his main problem will be trying to keep the rest of his squad happy for the campaign.

After the trials and tribulations of last term, not a bad problem for him to have...

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