Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has joined Wigan Athletic in a six-month loan deal.
According the official Wigan Athletic website, Kirkland will possibly be offered a permanent deal when the loan expires, on January 1st.
Kirkland has been unlucky with injuries during his Anfield spell, but that isn’t really the reason Liverpool are letting him look elsewhere. Pepe Reina is clearly Rafa’s first choice keeper, and at 25 years old Kirkland needs to be at a club where he’ll be first choice. Liverpool have still got Scott Carson, Jerzy Dudek and Paul Martin on the books at Anfield.
Wigan manager Paul Jewell told the Wigan website after the deal was confirmed: “Chris is a top quality goalkeeper, he is a very imposing figure who can command his box, and he combines that with a tremendous shot-stopping ability. At 25, he is still hasn’t reached his prime yet as a keeper I think and he has the potential to go on and have a great career in the game. I would love that to be here at Wigan, but we’ll wait and see. Chris is the second England international we have signed in the last few days, which just shows you how far we have come as a club. This is absolutely fantastic news for Wigan Athletic, and sends out all the right signals.” In fact Kirkland hasn’t yet become an international player as such, injuries have taken every chance he’s had away from him, although he did make six under-21 appearances. Jewell continued: “Gary Walsh retired from playing for us at the end of last season, and I am delighted to have brought in such a quality player. You need at least three quality goalkeepers in the Premiership, last season proved that, and I am confident Chris can make a big contribution to the Wigan Athletic cause this season.”
Kirkland himself told the site: “I’m thrilled to be joining an ambitious club like Wigan. What they achieved here last season was absolutely brilliant and they surprised everybody. The set up at Wigan is excellent. They already have two excellent keepers in John Filan and Mike Pollitt and competition for places will be fierce, I realise that. I am really looking forward to meeting and working with both of them, along with such an experienced coach as Gary Walsh. I am just looking forward to playing. The Premiership is where every player wants to be and I am ready to fight for my place in the team. It’s frustrating when you’re injured and I just want to make up for lost time and start proving to the Wigan fans that I can still make an impact in the Premiership.”