BY DARREN JOHNSTONE in La Manga – Capital City Press
Wigan Athletic manager Gary Caldwell insists Celtic have recruited a player that can play at the highest level after losing out on Nadir Ciftci to his former club.
One-time Scotland defender Caldwell has also revealed how the Latics went to great lengths to try and entice the striker away from Dundee United.
The English League One club had a £1.5 million bid accepted by the Tannadice outfit but Ciftci himself turned down the move despite being offered lucrative terms.
Caldwell had pinpointed the 23-year-old as a player that could spearhead Wigan’s bid to bounce straight back to the Championship.
However, Hoops manager Ronny Deila has today landed the forward, who netted 33 goals in two seasons at United, on a four-year deal and Caldwell is in no doubt that the forward will make an impact at Parkhead.
Speaking from La Manga where Wigan are sharing the same training facility as Hibs, Caldwell said: “He is a young player with massive potential first and foremost and I said that to him.
“I said, ‘I believe at this club you can become better’.
“I think at the minute he has the materials to become a top number nine or ten. I think he can play in both positions.
“He’s got pace, he can score goals, he’s a good size and has good physical presence.
“I think he’s going to go on to be a great player and, at 23, he’s still got a lot of years ahead of him.
“We wanted to try and buy the potential for him to be a really great player.”
Caldwell admits Wigan, who were only relegated from the English top-flight as recently as summer 2013, were willing to push the boat out in their attempts to land Ciftci.
The 33-year-old, who was capped 55 times for Scotland, added: “We did everything as a club, we made a massive offer for a League One club to Dundee United.
“We made a big offer to him as a player. From my point of view we couldn’t have done anymore and I thank Wigan for their efforts to get a player that I wanted.
“I have to respect that he’s gone elsewhere and we have to move on to another target.”