A transfer merry-go-round could result in Wigan Athletic losing star man Nick Powell to Championship rivals Aston Villa.

It was the perfect start to Wigan Athletic’s first season back in England’s second tier.

Paul Cook’s men came up against Sheffield Wednesday at the DW Stadium, a tricky opening day clash which resulted in a pleasing 3-2 victory.

A brace from Michael Jacobs and one from Nick Powell was enough with the latter player impressing immensely against ten-man Wednesday.

Many had expected big things from Nick Powell when he made his £6 million move from Crew Alexandra to Manchester United in 2012. Transfers between lower league and elite top-flight clubs are rare enough but £6 million was a relatively large sum of money in the 2012 market, especially for an 18-year-old.

Unfortunately, things didn’t really work out for Powell at Old Trafford and his real breakthrough season came on loan at Wigan back in 2013-14 before he finally made the move permanent in 2016.

He shone for the Latics last season as they comfortably secured promotion back to England’s second tier but therein lies part of the problem. Powell’s performances were so good that he has attracted interest from other clubs with Aston Villa reportedly the most interested party ahead of the fixture between the two sides on 11 August.

Villa’s interest comes amid speculation over their own star attacking midfielder, Jack Grealish. Powell and Grealish have had somewhat similar career progressions and are now attracting interest from other sides.

Tottenham Hotspur are the club interested in the 22-year-old midfielder with Grealish set to become the first player Spurs have signed all summer. However, reports suggest that the two clubs are too far apart in their valuation of the player.

“The offer we had has not been enough to be tempted. We hope he’s still our player by Friday,” Bruce told the BBC.

“But there’s a human element within that, which we all understand. There’s a chance of Champions League football for him.

“I don’t want him to go but we’ll just have to see what happens. It’s going to be a long three days.”

It has been claimed that this could lead to Villa and Bruce looking at Nick Powell as a potential replacement. A £5 million fee has been touted for the Wigan man considering the fact he is entering the final year of his contract. Powell’s importance to the team cannot be understated, as manager Paul Cook attempted to explain last year.

“Nick’s Nick,” Cook said back in October 2017.

“We all enjoy Nick. We can’t keep speaking about Nick every week! In certain situations, he’s nigh on unplayable.

“That’s great credit to him and great credit to us as a club for having him.”

The loss of Nick Powell would seriously hurt Wigan’s admittedly slim chances of achieving a consecutive promotion to the Premier League. The Latics are way out at 9/1 to reach the ‘promised land’ on Betway as of 8 August but those odds would undoubtedly increase should Powell leave the DW Stadium. Villa, meanwhile, are amongst the favourites at 4/1. 

Still, there are some potential upsides to the idea of selling Powell. As previously mentioned, the 24-year-old is entering the final year of his contract despite reports earlier in the year that Powell was keen to extend his deal at the DW.

Powell would be free to leave next summer should he choose to so perhaps even a transfer fee as low as £5 million could be viewed in a positive light compared to the possibility of losing him for nothing.

It would be a major blow to see Nick Powell leave the DW Stadium. The 24-year-old midfielder has played the best football of his career for Wigan Athletic and it would be a shame to lose him for a fee as low as £5 million.

Powell showed his importance to this team on the opening weekend of the season and surely Wigan’s slim hopes of promotion would be extinguished with his exit. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that but even if it does, £5 million is enough to find a decent replacement.