Wigan continued to bolster their first-team options earlier this week with the capture of Arouna Kone from Levante on a three-year contract. The 28-year arrives at the DW Stadium for an undisclosed fee and is the fourth player to be snapped up by Roberto Martinez this summer, following Fraser Fyvie, Ivan Ramis and Ryo Miyaichi to the club:
The transfer represents a significant coup for Martinez – Kone was the joint-ninth top scorer in the Spanish top-flight in 2011/12 along with Swansea new boy Michu and his acquisition gives Wigan a much-needed freshness up front, following the departure of Hugo Rodallega to Fulham earlier this summer. Speaking to the club’s official website upon completion of the deal, the Ivorian revealed Martinez’s tactical approach was a significant factor in persuading him to join the club:
I’m very happy to be here and I’m doubly happy because I know how hard the manager has had to fight to get me here. Roberto has told me about the philosophy of the club. He told me how he likes his teams to play on the floor which is a style that I’m used to in Spain and these were words which really persuaded me to join. I’m gonna give my all every time I put the shirt on this season and I’m sure we can make progress in the league and I really hope that the fans will be satisfied that I’m a player who gives everything.
Kone’s career began as an 18-year-old in his native country with Rio Sport, scoring 17 goals in 31 appearances in his only season with the club. The 6 foot forward then made his way to Belgium, signing for SK Lierse – finishing the campaign as his club’s top scorer with 11 goals in 32 games, Kone was once again on his travels, with Dutch outfit Roda JC snapping up his services for 2003-04. The Ivorian spent just over two seasons in his new surrounds and made a strong impact up front; 63 appearances harvested 28 goals and 15 assists before PSV came calling prior to the closure of the 2005-06 summer transfer window.
Despite winning a couple of titles with the Dutch giants, Kone suffered from injury and illness during his time at Eindhoven – although he returned 19 goals and 13 assists on just 53 league games, he was sold to Spanish outfit Sevilla at the beginning of 2007-08. Kone’s spell at the La Liga club was disastrous, however; just a single goal and an assist over 39 games saw him farmed out on loan to German outfit Hannover, where he scored twice in eight appearances in the 2009-10 campaign before heading back to his parent club.
The following season he featured just once for Sevilla and, with his career at a standstill, was picked up by Levante on a season-long loan with spectacular success. His 15 goals and four assist helped the club secure a fourth place finish and earned him a permanent deal but only months after penning the contract, he was on his travels once again, with the DW this time his destination.
Having finally struck upon a system that suits his players and maximises his tactical approach, Martinez now needs someone clinical to finish off the Latics’ impressive approach work. Last time round, Franco Di Santo scored just seven times in 32 appearances, while Rodallega notched twice in 23 outings – bearing in mind they scored just 42 goals all season last time round, there are, clearly, significant grounds for improvement within the Wigan frontline.
Kone could well be the answer. Strong in the air and on the ground and clever in possession, he brings a wealth of experience with him to the Premier League and looks a good bet to oust both Di Franco and Mauro Boselli for the lone forward role in Wigan’s 3-4-2-1. As shown towards the tail end of last term, Wigan are a match for any side when they play to their strengths – wins over the likes of United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle in their final nine games of 2011/12 stand testament to their capabilities and suggest they could well push on this time round.
In terms of price, Kone’s Fantasy Premier League (FPL) valuation is somewhat surprising – he comes in at 6.5, a full 1.0 more expensive than both Di Santo and Boselli. If he can replicate his Levante form, though, he certainly has the potential to be a strong mid-price option for our Fantasy sides, though it may well be that the likes of Jean Beausejour, Shaun Maloney or Ryo Miyaichi are preferred due to their budget-friendly price tags. Beausejour, in particular, could be set to prosper from linking up with a more efficient forward – the left winger’s creativity was a crucial component of Wigan’s push up the table in the latter stages of the previous campaign and his assist tally could boost his appeal once again.
The Latics open their season against a Chelsea side that have lost their final four pre-season games and will hold little fear heading into Sunday’s showdown, while home games with Stoke and Fulham and a trip to Southampton are also on the agenda by Gameweek 5, affording Kone a strong chance to get his Wigan career up and running.
Commenting is now closed for this post.
For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
|Up||Robles||WIG||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Lloris||TOT||C, Vs|
|No Change||Foster||WBA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Vorm||SWA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Mignolet||SUN||B, Vs|
|No Change||De Gea||MUN||A|
|Up||Boruc||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Kompany||MCI||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Vertonghen||TOT||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Luiz||CHE||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Boyce||WIG||C, Vs, OoP|
|No Change||Cuéllar||SUN||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Rangel||SWA||C, Vs|
|Up||Clyne||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Mata||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Hazard||CHE||B, Vs, Rest, Inj|
|Up||Maloney||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Y Touré||MCI||B, Vs|
|No Change||Silva||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Tevez||MCI||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Koné||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
|Up||Lukaku||WBA||B, Vs, Rest|
|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Rodriguez||SOT||A, Vs, £|
|Up||Defoe||TOT||B, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Ba||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby