When you are one of the Premier League’s smaller fish, the three months of the transfer window can seem like an eternity.
Counting down the days until the start of September has become a pastime for those clubs that don’t populate the upper echelons of English football and few teams know that feeling like Wigan Athletic.
As Roberto Martinez plans for the Latics’ eighth consecutive season in the top flight, the end of August can’t come soon enough. For as long as Wigan remain in the Premier League, the bigger boys will continue to rob their best talent and with Dave Whelan making no bones about the fact that players are available at the right price (Whelan is happy to tell anyone anything as long as there is a microphone and a TV camera present), Wigan are constantly up against it.
Leighton Baines, Lee Cattermole, Antonio Valencia, Wilson Palacios, Charles N’Zogbia and Emile Heskey (no, stop laughing, I’m being serious) are all among the players who Wigan have bought for a fraction of the cash they were later sold for after spotting their talent and grooming it, and with the money being injected back into the playing staff ever decreasing (Whelan has really tightened the purse-strings) Martinez will be desperate to hold on to his prize assets this summer.
|Bayern Munich win||£33.40||(67/100)|
Yet as Chelsea, and no doubt others as well, chase the likes of Victor Moses, the wonderfully gifted young winger, Wigan’s fate could be decided by the wants of other clubs and until the window slams shut and Martinez knows what he has at his disposal, the Latics will be on tenterhooks all summer.
But at the moment, all of Wigan’s star talents, including James McCarthy and James McArthur, are still at the DW Stadium and Martinez can be happy with his pre-season lot so far.
The next stop for Wigan is a match against German side Hoffenheim in the last match of their Austrian tour. The odds compilers at bwin can’t seem to split them, with the Bundesliga side 27/20, the Latics 8/5 and the draw at 23/10.
Wigan have had a couple of decent work outs in Austria – a 3-1 win over MIcheldorf and a 2-2 draw against Plovdiv – but Hoffenheim represents a step up in class and a much sterner test at the end of a gruelling trip.
Hoffenheim, who count former Liverpool star Ryan Babel among their squad (for now at least, you might be surprised to learn his move has not exactly been a resounding success), finished 11th last year and should be backed at 27/20 to inflict a first pre-season defeat on Wigan.
Another ex-Red, Marcus Babbel, is in charge and his side are unbeaten in pre-season. And with Martinez stating this week that his players are tired as their tour comes to an end, the Germans are the bet here, espeically if you adhere to the old adage that odds-against on teams playing unpredictable Wigan is always worth a look.
Recommended bet: Hoffenheim to beat Wigan @ 27/20
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