New deal on the horizon for ambitious Jewell

May 24, 2006

Wigan manager Paul Jewell is poised to sign a new five-year deal with the club - with the hope then of splashing out £12.5million of chairman Dave Whelan's money.

The Latics' outstanding debut campaign in the Premiership unsurprisingly led to Jewell being linked with a number of vacancies, notably those at Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Charlton.

However, Jewell has long made it abundantly clear he is happy at the JJB Stadium, in particular due to the close working relationship he enjoys with Whelan.

Wigan's multi-millionaire owner is looking to put an end to the speculative talk surrounding his manager by agreeing a long-term deal with the 41-year-old.

It is likely Jewell will put pen to paper within the next two weeks, by which time he hopes to have signalled the club's intent for next season with a club-record £8.5million capture of Andrew Johnson.

Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan has accepted the offer for the England international striker, with Johnson due to start talks with Wigan on Friday.

Time is now running out for the other two clubs chasing the 25-year-old's signature in Bolton and Everton, who have so far offered just £8million and £7.25million respectively.

Jordan believes Portsmouth are also interested in the player, but stressed Wigan are the only club to have matched Palace's valuation.

'Wigan are in the box seat,' Jordan told PA Sport. 'Everton and Bolton are very keen to have the player's services, but they need to get a move on.

'Wigan have offered £8.5million, which is money I consider reasonable and which is on the terms I want.

'It is predominantly those three clubs who are interested in Andrew, although I believe there is also interest from Portsmouth.'

Asked whether he expected Bolton and Everton to raise their bids, Jordan added: 'Nothing is ever simple in football, and I will not hold my breath.'

Jewell is also hoping to spend another £4million on Chelsea defender Robert Huth, although patience is required regarding the 21-year-old.

Wigan chief executive Brenda Spencer has confirmed the club have had bids accepted for two players, and while refusing to state names, it is understood Huth is the other in question along with Johnson.

However, the centre-back is believed to be keeping his options open until after he has figured in the World Cup following his inclusion in Germany's 23-man squad.

Jewell is after a quality central defender after releasing Stephane Henchoz at the end of last season, with Huth apparently seen as the perfect replacement.

Spencer, speaking on www.wiganlatics.co.uk, said: 'I can confirm we have made a number of substantial bids for high-profile players, and that two of those bids have been accepted.

'Our supporters can rest assured Dave Whelan, Paul Jewell and I are working closely to improve the squad and we will continue to work around the clock until we feel the club is ready for next season.'