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Monday, July 4, 2011

Ali al Habsi moves to Wigan Athletic for £4 million

Andy Hunter

  • Article history

  • Ali al-Habsi has completed his permanent move to Wigan Athletic after the Latics met Bolton Wanderers' £4m asking price for the Oman goalkeeper.

    The 29-year-old enjoyed a successful loan spell at the DW Stadium last season, resulting in his winning the club's player of the year award plus attracting interest from several other Premier League sides. Wigan, however, were always favourites to secure Habsi's signature providing they met both his and Bolton's financial demands and, having agreed a fee with Bolton last week, the goalkeeper signed a four-year contract on his return from holiday on Monday.

    Habsi, who made 34 league appearances last season for Roberto Martínez's team, said: "I want to thank everyone at Bolton for helping me get established in this country but I need to be playing first-team football, and hopefully, if I can stay fit and keep doing my best, I will get the chance again at Wigan. I think the gaffer is building a really exciting young team here and I am thrilled that I can be a part of that again."

    The Oman international ousted Chris Kirkland from the No1 spot at Wigan last season and, with the veteran goalkeeper Mike Pollitt having been released this summer, the former Liverpool player could leave the DW following Habsi's permanent arrival. Kirkland has been linked with a reunion with the former Wigan manager Paul Jewell at Ipswich Town.

    On Habsi's signing, Martínez said: "Goalkeeping is a very specific position and we are very pleased that we are going to be very strong in this department going into the new season. Being voted player of the season reflects the huge impression that Ali had on the pitch but also the feeling of the supporters towards him. After making it really clear that he wanted to play for Wigan Athletic moving forwards we've done everything possible to make this happen."

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