As much as it pains me to write this clubs like Wigan are probably never going to be a glamorous Northern club in the shape of a Manchester United or even the on-going soap opera that is Newcastle United, for us to compete amongst the big boys we have to be a little bit smarter then the rest. Signing an unheard of Paraguyan might not capture the imagination but who knows what can happen if we can continue unearthing the likes of Antonio Valencia and Wilson Palacios. With this in mind I thought I'd explore some signings from outside the Premier League......yes, outside the Premier League.....Scary eh ?
We hear, pretty much every day at the moment how much footballers get paid....but just stop and think for a minute what it must be like to earn the best part of a quarter of a million quid every month...you'd never have to worry about anything - everything would be in your reach and life would probably turn into a constant stream of materialism. Footballers with expensive tastes just arent going to see themselves in an old northern mill town or rundown ports in England. The only way players like this are going to play for some clubs is if nobody else wants them or they're getting paid so much money it's impossible to refuse. This is the problem...clubs like Middlesborough have to pay top dollar for flops like Alonso Alves to even consider playing for them. As you've probably guessed by looking at what league Boro are in now, that isnt the way to go.
Instead I think clubs like Wigan need to go for hungry players - players with a point to prove. With this in mind here are some top players outside the premiership. Players I think could really make a difference to a club like Wigan and wont cost the earth. In no particular order here they are:
1) Joe Ledley (Cardiff)
So, for £12 million you can buy Stewart Downing, but for probably half of that you could buy Joe Ledley. I'm shocked no one has snapped him up yet, especially as he's that rarest of species (A left sided British player) He can also play pretty much anywhere in the midfield and his passing ability is top notch. Everton have shown with Tim Cahill that some Championship players can make the step up with ease...I reckon Joe Ledley is in this group
2) Zak Whitbread (Millwall)
His time at Liverpool didn't really work out but he was young and seems to have learned loads by plying his trade in the lower leagues. I think the time is right for him to make the step up. Great positional sense and fantastic aerial prescense make him a good defender who is probably only going to get better.
3) Stephen Appiah (No Club)
Now this is probably a bit of a weird one...but hear me out. A couple of years ago Appiah was being touted as one of the defensive midfielders in the world. He's had loads of injury problems since then and it seems that no club really wants to take a chance on him...but i bet any club signing him is going to get someone who wants to bust a gut to prove himself. I'm not saying he'd 100% be a success - but getting him on a pay as you play deal for a season is probably worth a punt. If it worked out everyone would be hailing what a stroke of genius it is.....
4) Jermaine Beckford (Leeds)
Beckford has been getting linked with Premiership clubs for the last few years, however its always just been talk and nobody seems to have truly contemplated signing him up. It would probably take a bid of about 6-7 million to get him but he's been showing some decent potential and bags of pace to boot. He's still got alot to learn before he's a proper premiership player but with the right guidance a club could definitely have a real classy player with him.
5) Jonathan Walters (Ipswich)
An eye for goal and the abilty to play the killer pass make Walters a decent buy for any team. Could really thrive in a team who like to get the ball down and play. Still pretty young too...
Let me know what you think of these choices ....there's nothing like a list like this to divide opinon !