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Jun, 16, 2011

Martinez eager to seal Al Habsi deal

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez is hopeful he can soon make goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi's loan spell from Bolton a permanent one.

Al Habsi, who just last month was named the Latics' player of the season, was impressive in his first year at the DW Stadium and Wigan have already made a £3 million bid for the Oman international.

Though he is keen to secure the keeper's services, Martinez has admitted that club chairman Dave Whelan might have to dole out as much as £5 million to land their man, and that presently an agreement between the two teams has yet to be reached.

"At the moment, there is nothing to report, but we remain hopeful of doing the deal" the manager said. "The problem is this is a three-way situation, and that means things haven't been easy. We've been talking with Bolton and also with Ali for some time, and we've been very open about what we have been trying to do.

"When you are talking about a player like Ali, you need to do everything you can to keep him at the football club. But in this situation, when he is not under contract to us, things are not totally in our hands. Ali has made it clear he'd love to carry on his time with us, and we'd love to keep him, but we'll have to wait and see."

"I suspect one way or another we'll find out very, very soon which way it'll go.

Following his signing with Norwegian club FK Lyn Oslo back in 2003, Al Habsi became the first Omani to play international football in Europe. His inspiring performances in goal for Wigan this season greatly assisted the Latics in staving off relegation as they finished 16th in the Premier League table, three points above the drop zone.

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