Roberto Martinez dipped into the summer transfer market for the second time earlier this week by acquiring Ivan Ramis from Real Mallorca for an undisclosed fee. The 27-year-old centre-half follows Fraser Fyvie to the DW Stadium after knocking back the advances of West Ham and arrives at Wigan on a three-year contract:
The deal represents something of a coup for the Latics. Earlier in the week, the La Liga outfit had posted an article on their official website confirming they had agreed terms with the Hammers and the player was set for a medical but, according to Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, his manager is the man to thank for the about-turn:
It’s down to the influence of Roberto. The player doesn’t speak English and didn’t want to go to West Ham, who had already agreed a deal. But Roberto asked me to go out to Mallorca where I met their chairman and with the club in receivership, they accepted my offer and then I went to see the player.
Ramis began his career as a 17-year old in the Mallorca youth system back in 2001, where he scored three goals in 50 appearances before stepping up to the senior side in the 2004-05 season. Initially struggling to nail down a first-team role, he was farmed out to Real Valladolid in 2005-06, making 30 appearances for the second division side before returning to his parent club for the following campaign.
The centre-half continued to feature irregularly for the La Liga outfit before finally nailing down a regular spot in the first XI in 2009-10 and, while he has notched five times in the past couple of seasons, Ramis’ tendency to accrue cautions has been his stand-out statistic, with 16 bookings in his last two campaigns in the Spanish top-flight. Over his time at the club, he also attracted interest from Celtic and Sevilla and has represented his country at Under 19, 21 and 23 levels. Ramis featured a total of 164 times for Mallorca, finding the net on nine occasions.
A change of tactics after the mid-point of last season not only brought about a revival in Wigan’s fortunes, it has clearly affected Martinez’s thinking when it comes to player acquisitions this summer. The Latics started the previous campaign with a conventional back-four but the switch to a 3-4-2-1, with three centre-halves preferred at the back, means Martinez needs cover in the defensive area.
Bearing in mind Gary Caldwell and Maynor Figueroa missed just two league games between them all season, it’s likely that Ramis is vying with Antolin Alcaraz for that third spot at the back – his compatriot Piscu is also available, though failed to make much impact and featured just five times for the Latics in 2011/12. Ramis not only offers a real physical presence and strong aerial ability, his distribution from deep could also see him forge a way into Martinez’s first-team plans for the upcoming campaign.
In terms of expected cost across the Fantasy games, a Fantasy Premier League (FPL) starting price of 4.5 seems likely for Ramis- Figueroa has also been handed this initial valuation, however, and is certainly more nailed-on at the start of the new campaign. We can anticipate a cost of around the 5.0 mark Sky Sports game, considering the likes of Caldwell and Figueroa at 5.5 and 5.2 respectively.
When it comes to investing in a backline that returned just eight clean sheets last time round, however, Emmerson Boyce offers a far better solution than his defensive team mates. Granted, he is slightly more expensive than the majority of his Martinez’s defenders – 5.0 in FPL and 5.5 in the Sky Sports game – but his out-of-position role on the right of Wigan’s four-man midfield boosts his appeal considerably more and is likely to deter many Fantasy managers from investing in Ramis.
When assessing their prospects for the start of the season, it’s worth remembering that Wigan’s exploits towards the tail end of last term were arguably the finest example of looking at form over fixtures. While many wrote them off and expected them to drop into the Championship, the Latics racked up seven wins in their last nine, including triumphs over Newcastle, Arsenal, United and Liverpool, with Martinez’s new system going from strength to strength as the campaign came to a close.
The big question is whether Wigan will start where they left off. Certainly, home clashes with Stoke and Fulham in the first six Gameweeks will hold no fear, while a trip to Southampton could well be prosperous. With Chelsea, United and a visit to Sunderland also on their opening agenda, though, many Fantasy managers will be somewhat reluctant to go overboard in snapping up Wigan’s mid-price options, despite that stunning end to the previous season.
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