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By ESPN Staff

Wigan sign controversial Dutchman Bouaouzan

Wigan boss Chris Hutchings has completed the signing of Dutch winger Rachid Bouaouzan, who narrowly avoided a prison sentence during his time in the Eredivisie. Bouaouzan, who has signed a three-year contract with the Latics, becomes Hutchings' eighth capture of the summer. The 23-year-old, who joins Wigan for an undisclosed fee from Dutch side Sparta Rotterdam, is due to start training with the side tomorrow. Bouaouzan, who is of Moroccan descent, was persuaded to move to the JJB Stadium after speaking with Wigan's two other Dutch stars - captain Mario Melchiot and midfielder Denny Landzaat. 'It's very useful to have a couple of Dutch lads here already,' said Hutchings. 'They came into the club on their day off to speak to Rachid about us, which I was very grateful for.' Hutchings is convinced Bouaouzan, who scored five goals in 71 appearances in the Eredivisie, will prove a useful addition to the squad. 'I know he has been chased by several clubs, so I am delighted he has chosen to join us,' added Hutchings. 'I think he has bags of potential and exactly what it takes to be a success in this country. 'It may take time for him to adjust completely, but the most important thing is he is another good young player who will add competition to the squad. 'He has come highly recommended from several sources and as soon as we found out he might be available, we were very keen to get him on board.' 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, he 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 top flight. Hutchings is also though to be targeting Marcus Bent, despite the Charlton striker's inconsistent scoring record - he has scored just five goals in 52 matches since joining the Addicks 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.'