Wigan Athletic’s Andy Delort Set For Return to France


Since his summer move to the English Championship, Wigan Athletic striker Andy Delort has endured a frustrating spell at the Lancashire club. Now it appears that the forward could make a surprise return to Tours FC, just five months after he left the Ligue 2 side.

On Friday evening during Tours FC’s eventual two-nil home defeat to AC Ajaccio, France Football reported that negotiations were possibly underway between the Indre-et-Loire club and Wigan Athletic.

The former AC Ajaccio and FC Metz centre-forward’s move to English football has been complicated by managerial upheaval at his current club, with Malky MacKay replacing Uwe Rösler in charge at the DW stadium. The likelihood of Delort’s departure has also recently increased with the arrival of Inverness striker Billy McKay. It gives the new coach yet another attacking option in what is already a congested squad group in terms of its offensive weapons.  The 23-year-old Frenchman was also tellingly left out of a Wigan squad that drew nil-nil yesterday away to Ipswich Town.

Delort has often been linked with moves to various Ligue 1 clubs in the past, as well as the likes of Charlton Athletic and Leicester City, but the 144 minutes that he played for Tours at the start of the season, means he can’t play for a third club this season.

As often is the case in January windows, it appears that the link between the Wigan forward and a move to his most recent former employers has come as a result of another transfer, with Tours’ top scorer Youssef Adnane moving to Brest on Friday afternoon.  The Centre-based side reacted quickly to respond to Adnane’s departure by signing local boy and former Real Sociedad striker Jonathan Nanizayamo from Bulgarian second division side Vereya.

However, Tours’ poor start to the season, which saw manager Olivier Pantaloni leave the Stade de la Vallée du Cher in October, has left them flirting closely with relegation to the National, as they currently sit just one place above the drop zone in seventieth position, level on points with eighteenth place Chamois Niortais.  Relying on Nanizayamo for goals could be viewed as somewhat of a dangerous gamble for Alexande Dujeux’s side, with last season’s Ligue 2 joint-second top scorer and fans’ favourite Delort being viewed as a much more desirable replacement.

After the game, Tours FC president Jean-Marc Ettori spoke to local radio station France Bleu Touraine, giving more of an insight into the nature of the discussions between the two clubs – “In regards to Andy Delort, we don’t know what the English (Wigan Athletic’s management) are doing.  For our part, our conditions are clear, precise and unequivocal – we won’t subsidise his wages at all. We don’t have the resources available to us to do so, as we’ve got a salary cap in place. That’s our plan A.  If I can help get Andy out of where he is at the moment, I’ll be more than willing to do so. I’d like to state emphatically that asides from that, the rest is up to Wigan. We’ve also got two players set aside as plan B options.”

Delort’s return would be a sensational story. He was deservedly idolised at Stade de la Vallée du Cher, as he tormented opposing defences with  pace, power and his keen eye for goal, scoring an impressive 24 goals last season. The contrast in his fortunes since his move to Lancashire has been tragic, with the former Borussia Dortmund, Bordeaux and Celtic trialist making just four starts since his move.  A loan move before Monday’s deadline could be a dream solution to the current woes of both Delort and his former club.  At just 23 years old, Andy Delort has plenty time to re-establish himself as one of France’s most talked-about strikers.

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