Callum McManaman out, Billy McKay in for Malky Mackay’s woeful Wigan
Wigan Athletic, evens with Coral to be relegated from the Championship, have let ex-England Under-21 international winger Callum McManaman leave for Premier League outfit West Bromwich Albion for a reported fee of £4.75m.
Man of the Match when the Latics stunned Manchester City by winning the 2013 FA Cup final, 23-year-old McManaman is the Lancashire outfit’s joint top scorer this term with five goals. Baggies boss Tony Pulis has identified him as a top target in the winter window, as he chose to terminate Silvestre Varela’s loan spell at The Hawthorns from Porto.
McManaman has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with West Brom, and will wear he number 19 shirt. “I’m delighted we’ve got Callum and I believe he will be an exciting addition to our numbers,” said Pulis. “Callum is a player who can improve out options and I am really looking forward to working with him.”
This high-profile departure from the DW Stadium comes with Wigan in the relegation zone and eight points from safety. It also follows the exit of cup scoring hero Ben Watson, who subsequently broke his leg and has now joined Watford.
Scotland winger Shaun Maloney, meanwhile, has also exited for MLS franchise Chicago Fire. Moreover, Adam Forshaw, another forward-thinking midfielder, may join Middlesbrough for somewhere in the region of £2m-£2.5m, leaving the Latics seriously short on creativity and heavily reliant on Republic of Ireland attacker James McClean.
In an attempt to address this shortage of forward options, as Grant Holt is sidelined by a serious knee injury, Wigan boss Malky Mackay has had a bargain bid of around £150k accepted for near namesake and Inverness Caledonian Thistle frontman Billy McKay.
Capped nine times by Northern Ireland, McKay is into double figures for Scottish Premiership goals with Caley this term. He will now hold talks with the Latics over a switch and is out of contract this summer, which may have persuaded Inverness of the need to take cut-price offers.
Mackay’s only inbound business so far this January has been defensive loan signings Chris Herd and Liam Ridgewell, but now the attack is a major priority. Wigan do still have French forwards Andy Delort and Marc-Antoine Fortune on their books, alongside Martyn Waghorn, but they have managed just three league goals between them.