Alan Nixon has provided an update regarding Bailey Wright’s prospective transfer from Sunderland to Wigan.
According to the journalist on Twitter, Wigan are currently being put off a deal for the 29-year-old due to his valuation.
The Latics are chasing a swoop for the defender and are unwilling to match Kristjaan Speakman’s demands at this moment in time.
Lee Johnson will have a weight lifted from his shoulders following this update from Nixon. It potentially puts an end to the speculation over Wright’s future, in terms of Wigan at least, as Leam Richardson’s side are either unwilling or unable to pay the asking price for the former Bristol City powerhouse.
The season starting before the end of the transfer window brings up a number of issues, with one being potential disruption to a manager’s plans. Wright has been stuck in limbo on Wearside as it has been unclear whether or not he will still be at the club come September, with his only league appearances this season coming off the bench.
Tom Flanagan and Callum Doyle have started the season as Johnson’s centre-back pairing, and with Wright’s future still in the balance, it could have caused chaos if he began the season starting in defence before leaving to join Wigan after four or five matches. The first-choice duo have impressed, with average WhoScored ratings of 7.00 and 6.75 respectively in League One thus far.
That isn’t to say that Wright is not an important player for Sunderland. Black Cats legend Kevin Phillips compared him to Virgil van Dijk last year and hailed the impact he made at the Stadium of Light.
The 48-year-old told Football Insider: “He’s been a great signing. I don’t know the player, but I just get the feeling that he’s a leader and a voice in the dressing room.
“Sometimes the manager can only say so much and then you want of your senior experience players to pipe up and put a few people in their place and give encouragement and be a leader. He seems like that.
“The stats just show what an important player he is. He’s almost to Sunderland what van Dijk is to Liverpool at the moment with those incredible stats.”
This shows that the £13k-per-week beast still has the quality to make an impact at the club. Now that the speculation may start to die down due to Wigan being unable to sign him, Johnson could perhaps trust him to start games, either coming in for Flanagan or Doyle or making up a back three alongside them.
Wright averaged a solid WhoScored rating of 6.94 in League One across 35 starts for Sunderland last term. This shows that he has the ability to be a key player for the club and that is why Johnson will be relieved that he could now have the defender to call upon throughout the season.