Liverpool striker Neil Mellor has today joined Wigan Athletic on loan until the end of the season. His loan move came on the same day that ‘Latics announced they had signed former Reds midfielder David Thompson until the end of the season after he had been released by Blackburn.
Mellor has been recovering from double knee surgery and has only recently started to make his comeback. Mellor turned down a move to Hearts and hopes to return to Anfield for pre-season training and a chance to get into Rafa Benítez’s plans again. Prior to his injury he had started to force his way into the first team, with his two most memorable goals of last season being his last minute winner against Arsenal and the second of Liverpool’s three against Olympiakos, both at the Kop end. The 23 year-old is a player Rafa likes, and a spell at Wigan will help him get back to full fitness at a faster rate than he would be able to at Anfield.
Thompson was a popular player at Anfield, but left the Reds in 2000, joining then Premiership Coventry for £3million. Now 28, the hard-working midfielder made his Reds debut when he was 19 and many felt he left Anfield too soon.
Wigan’s boss Paul Jewell, himself a former Red, was delighted to see his squad strengthened: “Both lads will bring us a new dimension, and add competition to the squad which we need at the present time. David is a great passer of the ball with lots of Premiership experience. He has quick feet and has the ability to unlock defences with his passing range and an eye for goal. Neil is a good young striker who is looking for a chance to prove himself again at this level. He is strong and skilful with an eye for goal. I’m delighted to have both on board.”
Mellor and Thompson will join up with former Liverpool defender Stephane Henchoz who has played an important part in what has been much better than expected season so far for Wigan.