Sigh. It's not exactly a shocking development, but I am still disappointed. I've made no secret of the fact that I always wanted to keep him, although I appear to be in the minority of Bolton fans. After much heckling and haggling between the two clubs, including some rude accusations from Whelan, a deal has finally been agreed, and Al Habsi has become a Pie-Eater for the price of £4m. Wigan fans will be pleased, as Al Habsi did an incredible job for them last season, and the prospect of at least another season on the bench at the Reebok was apparently not appealing to the Omani
I do understand this move for him, but I believe the decision was very short-sighted on the part of the club. As we've all said before, Jussi is aging (aren't we all) and he looked shakier last season than he ever has before. He will have to retire soon, and I'm sure I'm not alone in not entirely trusting Bogdan between the stick (especially as his ginger hair will clash with the pink keeper kit). Al Habsi tweeted shortly after the deal went through
"I would like to thank Phil Gartside & Owen Coyle for working with my agent Peter Morrison to get this transfer done. I have enjoyed my time at Bolton but the time was right for me to move on & play regular first team football... Both sets of fans have been fantastic & I am grateful to all of them."
Coyle was typically very nice and said:
"Ali knows he needs to play regular first team football. Wigan afforded him that opportunity last season and he thoroughly enjoyed himself there.This a good move for him and out with being a top professional he is a fantastic man. Ali leaves the club with the best wishes of everyone at Bolton Wanderers."
So that's that. A big thanks to Al Habsi for his 5 years with us, especially that night in Munich. Enjoy your pies.