Thomas follows footsteps of Palacios and Figueroa by sealing Wigan deal
02 July 2009 10:33
Wigan have signed midfielder Hendry Thomas from Honduran club Deportivo Olimpia on a three-year contract, subject to international clearance.
The 24-year-old was due to join the club last summer but his move was turned down as he did not meet the work permit criteria because he had not played enough games for his country.
However, that situation has now improved and a deal was agreed a couple of months ago between the clubs, with the player now passing a medical and agreeing terms.
Thomas is technically the signing of former manager Steve Bruce, who identified the player over a year ago, and even when he left to take charge at Sunderland the Latics were keen to push the deal through at the second attempt.
He will be the third Honduras international to play for Wigan, with left-back Maynor Figueroa featuring in every Barclays Premier League match last season and fellow midfielder Wilson Palacios becoming a pivotal figure before his January transfer to Tottenham.
Thomas initially did not meet the work permit standard last year as he had played in a number of Olympic qualifiers, which are not part of the FIFA-accepted criteria.
A number of clubs were alerted to his availability after Wigan's failed bid 12 months ago but new manager Roberto Martinez is pleased the player has shown loyalty to the Latics.
'Everyone knows how well Wilson and Maynor have done in the Premier League and it is no wonder there was lots of interest in Hendry, who comes from the same club as those two and has impressed,' he said.
'What happened last season here was a shame but the player now has the chance to prove himself over here. He is a powerful figure in midfield, who can sit in front of the back four and destroy attacks, or can also come forward and score.
'He is a player the club has worked really hard to secure these past months, with representatives from here travelling over to Honduras to meet with him and broker the deal - and all that hard work has paid off now.'
Thomas is now a regular for Honduras and has won 31 caps for his country.
'What happened last year was very disappointing for me personally,' he said. 'But I have worked hard all season to stay fit and qualify for the work permit rules and it is a dream come true for me to come to England. I have talked a lot with Maynor and Wilson about the club and I can't wait to start now.'