Gilbey is shock Latics deadline-day departure

Alex Gilbey
Alex Gilbey

It was once again a hugely hectic transfer deadline-day at Wigan Athletic, with two players drafted in and SIX moved on.

Despite manager Paul Cook predicting a quiet last 24 hours, Latics were once again one of the biggest wheelers-and-dealers in the country.

The headline deal was undoubtedly midfielder Alex Gilbey’s shock move to MK Dons on a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee.

Gilbey had struggled to make much of an impression so far this term, but showed enough last season - either side of a serious ankle injury - that he had plenty to offer moving forwards.

“Alex wants to play, and that is understandable,” acknowledged Cook. “But the reality at the moment is that he has had to be patient.

“A good offer came in for him, and sometimes you have to make tough decisions, but decisions that are for the benefit of all parties.

“We wish him all the best.”

The other five exits were all loan deals, with centre-back Donervon Daniels the biggest surprise as he moved to Rochdale for the rest of the season.

With his contract at the DW up next summer, Daniels - an integral part of the League One title-winning triumph of 2015/16 - is clearly not seen as part of the future.

Midfielder Josh Laurent, who only arrived in January from Hartlepool, will spend the rest of the campaign at Bury.

“Josh has done really well in pre-season and in the cup games he has played so far,” admitted Cook.

“We believe he’s got the ability to play at this level, and we hope he gets game time with Lee (Clark) at Bury.

“We will monitor his progress over the coming months.”

Youngsters Luke Burke (Fylde), Callum Lang (Morecambe) and Chris Merrie (Southport) will also look to gain much-needed game-time away at a lower level.

There were just two incomings on deadline-day, the first one coming right out of left-field with the return of Alex Bruce.

The ex-Manchester United and Hull utility man spent the second half of last term with Latics, although he hardly played due to fitness issues.

After signing a short-term deal with Bury earlier this summer, he played and even scored against Latics in the recent 4-1 win over the Shakers at the DW, before resuming his free-agent status.

And he has rejoined Latics on a 12-month contract, to add cover to both the backline and the midfield.

Also on his way into the club is Montenegro Under-23 goalkeeper Matija Sarkic - currently away on international duty in Kazakhstan - on loan until January.

Latics were forced to enter the market for an extra custodian after first choice Christian Walton picked up an ankle injury during yesterday’s open day at Robin Park Arena.

The England Under-21 goalkeeper, on a season-long loan from Brighton, is waiting to hear the extent of the injury, and possible lay-off.

In total, Latics brought in a round dozen players over the summer, with Jamie Jones, Callum Elder, Terell Thomas, Chey Dunkley, Lee Evans, Ivan Toney, Gavin Massey, Gary Roberts and Noel Hunt also joining up.

And crucially they kept hold of prize assets such as Will Grigg, Sam Morsy, Dan Burn and Michael Jacobs, while Max Power remains a Wigan player despite being transfer-listed earlier this summer.

“It’s been a busy period in terms of looking at potential deals - both in and out,” recognised chief executive Jonathan Jackson.

“But the main objective was to keep the team together, keep the squad together, being stronger at the end of the window than we were at the beginning - and I think we’ve achieved that.”