It’s taken a while but it looks as though Wigan Athletic have finally secured their first notable summer signing back in the Championship. The player in question is Ryan Nyambe, a 24 year old Right sided defender formerly of Blackburn Rovers who left Ewood Park at the end of his contract last month.
Rumours suggested there had been interest from Bournemouth, and teams in France in Nyambe, and recently it seemed like Middlesbrough were keen on a move for the 24-year-old. However, the Namibian international has chosen to stay in the North-West and join Leam Richardson’s side on an initial 1 year deal.
You just have to look at the calibre of those sides to realise what a coup Nyambe is. With over 200 career appearances he’s really experienced for a player of his age and the opportunities he’s had on the international stage only add to this too.
What would he bring to the side?
Ryan Nyambe undoubtedly improves Leam Richardson’s squad and adds much needed depth to the Right Wing Back position. He’s also played a handful of games as a right-sided Centre Back which could come in handy when we opt with a 3 at the back system.
He’s a really solid defender and would sure up our right side and in turn allow our more attacking Left Wing Backs licence to get forward. In the Championship last season he put up some wonderful defensive numbers, finding himself in the top 13% for Defensive Duels (7.45 per 90) and Defensive Duel Success Rate (66.22%).
At 6’0 tall he’s handy in the air which is a big reason why he’s been used at RCB at times in his career. He was involved in 4.66 aerial duels per 90 at a success rate of 50.6% in the Championship last season, both of which are numbers above average for wide defenders in the second tier.
However, whilst he’s excellent defensively the 24 year old still has work to do going forward. He possesses all the necessary physical attributes to make him dangerous down the right side but some technical areas of his play leave a little to be desired. Last season he acted as the more defensive Blackburn wing back to allow the dynamic Ryan Giles licence to get forward and as a result of this his attacking statistics aren’t much to shout about.
It’s worth noting that he could be asked to perform a similarly reserved role at Latics too. Our left sided wing backs are all really impressive going forward and would certainly benefit from having more attacking freedom. Last season Tom Pearce was statistically our most dangerous attacking full back so the introduction of Nyambe to the side could allow him to flourish even more.
It’s worth noting that Nyambe isn’t bad going forward by any means. His pace and power allow him to burst past opposing players with ease and whilst not the best, his technical attributes are more than good enough for the Championship. Here’s an example of Nyambe’s attacking play at its best.
Where might he play?
This is the biggest question I have regarding this signing. He’s an upgrade on Tendayi Darikwa at RWB, but with the 30 year old currently our club captain it seems unlikely that he’d be replaced. Most supporters, myself included, seem to agree that a new first choice RWB is necessary but I’m not 100% certain it’ll be an immediate swap.
If the rumours are true and there was interest from other, more established clubs I find it extremely unlikely he’s come to play second fiddle to Darikwa. Therefore, perhaps his initial role will be at RCB?
This wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world but seems harsh on Jason Kerr given how well he finished the season in that position. Both players could move over to the left side of the 3 but Leam Richardson tends to favour playing at least 1 left footed CB so again it seems unlikely. It’ll definitely cause Leam some headaches but they’re good headaches to have.
I really like this signing for Latics. Although the 1 year deal might ring alarm bells with some supporters bringing a player of his quality in should massively improve our hopes of Championship survival which is the most important thing for the club right now.
Let me know what you make of this signing on Twitter, I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Welcome to Wigan Ryan Nyambe!