Bristol City transfer target trains amid Coventry, QPR and Preston links
Bristol City’s next transfer target may have been revealed - but they face stiff competition to sign him.
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Wigan Athletic defender Jack Whatmough returned to pre-season training amid transfer speculation linking him with a move to Bristol City amongst other clubs.
Bristol City are one of several clubs keeping tabs on Wigan Athletic defender Jack Whatmough who could be available for free this month. Telegraph sport reporter Mike McGrath revealed that City, along with three named Championship rivals, and others have scouted him, amid the possibility of a ‘scramble’ for his signature. QPR - on the search for a Rob Dickie replacement - as well as Coventry City and City’s opening day opponents Preston, are all said to hold an interest, amongst others.
McGath tweeted on Thursday: “Wigan centre-back Jack Whatmough could spark a scramble in the Championship on a free transfer. He can choose to leave his club after the non-payment of wages last season. QPR, Bristol City, Preston, Coventry and others have scouted him.”
Whatmough could be available on a free transfer, because of Wigan’s failure to pay their players on time, under their previous ownership. The Latics have since been taken over by a local businessman, but will start the season on minus eight points, but will hope that players can stay with them, or at least recoup a transfer fee, as they build for this season.
The 26-year-old is a centre-back, and has mainly played in the centre of a back-three for Wigan, and last year made 39 appearances, keeping 10 clean sheets. His time with Wigan last year was the first time he had played in the Championship, with most of his career being spent in League One with Portsmouth and Wigan.
He was named Wigan’s Player of the Year in their title-winning campaign in 2021/22, appearing in all 46 matches, with two goals, two assists and 16 clean sheets. Whatmough is under contract until the end of the 2024/25 season, having only signed a new deal in February. Despite the ongoing speculation, he was pictured training on Wigan’s first day back.
Whatmough could provide a cheaper alternative to Jake O’Brien, who Bristol City have been linked with since January. Crystal Palace rejected an offer of nearly £1m from French club ES Troyes AC, and Palace aren’t expected to make a final decision on his future until the end of July, when he has been given a chance in pre-season, with the Eagles’ management situation not yet sorted.
Despite signing Rob Dickie from QPR, and Haydon Roberts following his Brighton departure, defensive reinforcements could still be required. A decision has not yet been made on Tomas Kalas’ future, with the Czech Republic international exploring his options amid an impasse on the current offer he received from the club. Zak Vyner, who the club want to open talks with for a new contract, is an option, as well as Dickie, Kal Naismith, Cameron Pring, George Tanner, and both Joe Low and Duncan Idehen, who had loan spells in the EFL last year.