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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Defender Granqvist seals Wigan loan deal

Wigan manager Paul Jewell has told Andreas Granqvist a summer move is on the cards if he can cope with life in the Premiership.

The Sweden Under-21 international has signed on loan until the end of the season from Helsingborg, with a view to the deal being made permanent during the summer.

The signing will be officially completed when the transfer window opens next week and the club can register centre-half Granqvist.

However, Premier League rules decree the 21-year-old will not be eligible to play against Blackburn Rovers on New Year's Day.

Subject to international clearance, Granqvist should be available for the FA Cup third round tie at Portsmouth on January 6.

From that moment, Granqvist will have ample time to prove himself as one of the most highly-rated young Swedish defenders.

'He's here until the end of the season in the first instance,' said Jewell. 'We can use this time to look at him properly and see how he adapts to the rigours of what is the toughest league in the world.

'We'll review the situation at the end of the season, but for the moment we need to concentrate on the next four months.'

Granqvist, who is Helsingborg club captain, is understood to have attracted interest from Liverpool, Celtic, PSV Eindhoven and Bayern Munich.

In snapping up the player, a delighted Jewell said: 'He's a lad we've been keeping tabs on for a long time.

'We've had him watched in Sweden several times and he has really impressed me in training. He's strong, committed, reads the game well and I think the Premiership will suit his style.'

Granqvist, who links up with a fellow Swede in striker Andreas Johansson at the JJB Stadium, said: 'To play in England has always been a dream for me. I am thrilled to have sorted out the move.

'I liked working with the manager in training and I can see there is already a great squad here.

'I have spoken to Andreas (Johansson) about the club and he told me about the team spirit and how he thinks Wigan will suit me.

'I know there are some really good defenders at the club and I am going to have to fight for my place, but that is fine.

'I couldn't turn down the opportunity to play in England, and to try and test myself against some of the best players in the world.

'I hope I can repay the faith Wigan have shown in me by performing well for the club.'