Shaun Maloney has bolstered his forward line with the loan addition of Norwich City’s Danel Sinani. The 25 year old Luxembourg international arrives at Latics on Deadline Day in search of consistent first team football during the second half of the season, something he hasn’t quite managed to achieve at Norwich.
That being said he has featured 18 times for the Canaries this season which makes the decision to loan him out slightly surprising on their part. Its great news for us though, Sinani is a proven Championship quality player and adds something different to our forward line. It looks like this deal only came into the frame this afternoon so we’ve moved quickly to secure his services.
Last season Sinani spent the year on loan at Huddersfield Town and was superb for them and a big reason behind their 4th place finish. Its a different job for him now, lifting us out of the drop zone and towards safety but he definitely has the quality to do just that.
What does he bring to the side?
When Shaun Maloney took over at Latics he spoke about his desire to add new ‘profiles’ to the Latics squad, and Sinani absolutely does that. He’s a tricky left footed winger who favours cutting inside from the right hand side which is something we don’t currently have in the squad. In fact, James McClean is our only left footed attacker and he’s barely being used as an attacker anymore!
His arrival will allow Latics to play inverted or traditional Wingers on both sides of the pitch which is something we haven’t been able to do this season. Callum Lang has been our right sided player more often than not but he’s right footed and is slightly easier to defend against, as he runs at Left Backs on their stronger left side. Sinani adds that new dynamic.
His greatest strength is his ball carrying abilities. He’s pretty sharp and is happy to take the ball in tight areas and run forward which I feel like is something we’ve missed at times this season. Getting ourselves into attacking areas with passing has been hard enough and we’ve struggled even more with dribbling, Thelo aside, so this is a much needed addition.
What’s more important is that once he’s got himself into dangerous areas he has the end product to match. His crossing looks really, really good from the clips I’ve seen of him and he looks comfortable delivering them with either foot. His left footed crosses from the right are his strongest though, whipping them in with pace towards the back post, and occasionally coming close to sneaking in directly. Think McClean vs Bolton at the DW last season.
I think the best comparison I can make is a left footed Thelo Aasgaard. He won’t burst past players but has the flair and technique to almost glide beyond his marker and always looks for the positive option. Another skill he possesses is shooting from range which is another area I’ve been really underwhelmed by from Latics this season.
Last season at Huddersfield he scored twice from outside of the area so hopefully he can bring that quality to the DW. The injection of quality into our forward line is something we’ve been crying out for and when it comes to pure attacking attributes I think this is about as good as Latics can attract.
It looks like he’s come in as a direct replacement for Gwion Edwards who looks set for a loan move to League One. As upgrades go that’s quite something, Sinani adds genuine class to our side and I’m really excited at this signing. Quick, tricky, technically superb and forward thinking, just what we need.
Where might he play?
As you can see he’s predominantly a right sided player but is very keen on drifting inside into central areas. I think as a RW / RAM is where we’ll see Sinani utilised, be that as part of a front 3 or front 4.
Maloney may choose to opt with a 3-4-2-1 system in which case he’d be perfect as one of the ‘2’. Floating around in the half spaces and picking the ball up in dangerous areas of the pitch is exactly what we need from him and I think he could do that very effectively.
Like I mentioned earlier I expect to see him used in a similar way to Thelo. I also think he allows us to play a more intense pressing style of play as he’s a very hard working and committed player. Playing at Norwich and Huddersfield has proven that he’s capable of fitting into intense footballing sides and whilst I don’t think we’ll go that far, it gives us the option to.
Its another really smart signing from Latics and improves us in a key area of the pitch. A left footed forward is exactly what we needed and we know he’s capable of performing well at this level. A lot has been said about our lack of Championship quality at the top end of the pitch so this goes a long way to solving that.
We love a deadline day deal don’t we? Perhaps there’s more to come…