Exclusive: The name Yanic Wildschut enters the frame as City’s player quest heads north westFri 27 Jan 17 by Gary Gowers
Sources in the north west suggest that flying Wigan winger Yanic Wildschut is a target for City.
It is understood the Dutchman is the subject of a £3m tug-of-war between Norwich City and their Premier League play-off rivals Derby County.
The 25-year-old Dutch speed ace initially joined the Latics on loan from Middlesbrough in the autumn of 2015; joining Wigan full-time in last season’s January window.
This season, Wildschut has been a near ever-present and has five goals to his name – including both Latics strikes in their 3-2 home defeat by Ipswich.
City’s interest may well herald the exit of Robbie Brady, with Burnley reported to in pole position to secure the Irishman’s signature, although as things stand he’s set to line-up against Birmingham City later today.
Whilst right-footed, Wildschut operates down the left and would therefore be a like for like replacement for Brady and add some reinforcements to a left side that has already been weakened by Martin Olsson’s move to Swansea.
His potential arrival would signal the ‘domino effect’ Alex Neil mentioned recently when quizzed about the timing of any transfer window ins and outs.
Given City’s failure to land two Dutch left-backs this week – Mitchell Dijks and Marvin Zeegelaar – the club will be keen to get this one over the line and equally be keen not to lose out to promotion rivals Derby in the two-way battle for the player’s signature.
For now however the club is remaining tight-lipped tonight as speculation inevitably mounts ahead of next week’s deadline.
The Dutchman’s overall performance – capped by the game’s winner – in Wigan’s 2-1 victory at Huddersfield in November had Latics’ head coach Warren Joyce purring in appreciation.
The City target was ’similar to Marcus Rashford’ as a winger-turned striker, claimed the former Old Trafford coach, now in charge at the JJB. ‘It might be a big statement,’ Joyce told reporters afterwards. ‘His top end pace is quicker than Nani and [Cristiano] Ronaldo.’
If the Wildschut deal is a goer it would be City’s first major signing of the window that promised a shake up but has so far delivered only one departure from Carrow Road although reports suggest that Sergi Canos may yet join Martin Olsson as he looks to head in a Brentford direction.
In a week that has seen Josh Murphy join his twin brother Jacob in signing a long-term deal, the talk of Canos departing – one in whom the City faithful had rested much hope – tells of one who has failed to deliver, still finds himself behind both Murphys in the pecking order and who has failed to embrace the all-round qualities needed from an Alex Neil wide man.
At 25 years-old and with a solid if unspectacular CV behind him, Wildschut would bring with him an appreciation of the work-rate required of a Championship wide man, in addition to an ability to chip in with the odd goal.
His arrival would also likely end the dream of those who yearn for a Murphy on either wing, as per the FA Youth Cup winning formula. As a right-footed left winger it’s fair to assume that Wildschut could operate with some comfort on the right flank.
It’s also reasonable to assume, regardless of what transpires at Carrow Road this afternoon, that the next few days may yet be interesting.