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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 30, 2007

Hutchings to land controversial Morroccan winger

Wigan manager Chris Hutchings is poised to sign a Moroccan winger who narrowly avoided a spell in prison.

With tomorrow's transfer deadline looming, Hutchings is also eager to land Charlton striker Marcus Bent after ditching his interest in Manchester City forward Darius Vassell.

If Bent does arrive before midnight tomorrow, that could lead to either Henri Camara or Caleb Folan being allowed to leave the JJB Stadium, with interest being shown in both players.

But it is the deal for Rachid Bouaouzan that is likely to cause a degree of interest, with his move from Sparta Rotterdam close to being finalised as terms and fee have already been agreed.

Bouaouzan gained notoriety in Holland when he broke the right leg of striker Niels Kokmeijer in a first division game in December 2004.

Kokmeijer, then with Go Ahead Eagles, suffered multiple fractures and was forced to retire from the game.

Bouaouzan was suspended for the rest of the season by Sparta, a sentence greater than the 10-game penalty handed down by KNVB, Dutch football's governing body.

However, in an unprecedented move, Bouaouzan was taken to court by the Dutch government and Kokmeijer on a charge of battery.

In August 2005, the 23-year-old was found guilty and received a suspended six-month jail sentence and ordered to serve 200 hours of community service.

On his return the following season, Bouaouzan was booed wherever he played before finally silencing his detractors by scoring the winning goal in the play-off final to secure Sparta a place in the Eredivisie.

With the incident now behind him, Bouaouzan looks certain to join the Latics, with Sparta confirming: 'Rachid Bouaouzan will swap Sparta Rotterdam for Wigan Athletic directly.'

Bent is another target for Hutchings, although his record with the club is poor as he has scored just five goals in 52 matches since joining them from Everton in January last year for £2.5million.

If a deal can be agreed Bent will play for his 10th club since turning professional with Brentford in 1995.

Hutchings, though, was keeping his cards close to his chest as he said: 'We're trying to get one or two players in.

'But obviously a lot goes into a transfer, whether a player moves from north to south, south to north or from another country.

'We've irons in the fire, so it's just a matter of waiting until something is sorted out.

'We're in talks with quite a few players, but we don't want to add any fuel to the fire. We just want to make sure things go ahead.

'We're being linked with quite a few people, but things are ongoing, so I'm not going to confirm or deny anything.'

Senegal international Camara has been linked with a move to Derby, but Hutchings added: 'Derby haven't contacted me, so as far as I'm concerned there is no truth in that.'

At this stage Hutchings does not see any player leaving, although did not rule out any last-minute deals.

'I'm happy with what we've got, but if people come in then there might be one or two calls on the phone, so we will have to wait and see,' he said.

'Last season we left things pretty late, but these things take time, and you can either get two or three in, or none in. That's the way the transfer market goes.'