With Wigan getting relegated, it means the vultures circling the corpse are coming down to grab what they can. Quite a few players are going to interest bigger Premier League teams, and there’s nothing much the FA Cup holders can do about it. The first names on everyone’s list? Callum McManaman and James McCarthy, with Liverpool looking particularly interested.
Brendan Rodgers was in attendance to watch the Cup Final between Manchester City and Wigan last weekend, doing it in an attempt to get a closer look at the two players he’s thinking of going after this summer. Liverpool aren’t going to bring in anyone older than 25, or so it seems, and they’re also hoping for players who won’t be costing too much. Rodgers is rumored to have a £25-30 million piggy bank to use, and he needs to spend it on a number of players.
McManaman might be the more intriguing option of the two, emerging this season at the age of 22, especially late in the year. It wasn’t enough to help Wigan be saved, and he did earn a notorious name for himself with his horror tackle on Massadio Haidara (Newcastle). But McManaman was named as the man of the match of the FA Cup final, and shows some impressive moments in the 20 matches he has played for Wigan this season, only 7 of them as a starter.
McManaman is a name Liverpool fans look fondly back on, but this youngster, 22, is a different kind of player. A forward more known for his passing and aggression than vision and abundance of talent. It’s a bit hard to say if he’s the kind of player that can upgrade the club.
As for McCarthy, he’s been actually on the Liverpool shortlist for a while, even before Rodgers arrived at the club. The 22 Irishman who was born in Glasgow has been a very dominant player for Wigan over the last couple of years, showing both enforcer and creative qualities in the middle of the pitch. He has scored three goals this season, but it his influence in the middle of the pitch – distribution with defensive abilities that has caught the eyes of his admirers.
Fee? For both of them, Wigan will probably ask for £8 million together, maybe slightly more. They’re both signed till 2016, but the pressure to leave the club will be greater now that they’re no longer in the Premier League. McCarthy would obviously be the bigger change for the club, although it’s unclear if he’ll be able to grab a place in the lineup with the current crop of players at the club. McManaman seems like an even longer “project for the future”, and both of them might not worth the hassle.