Wilson Palacios of Wigan top of Tottenham's shopping list

15 January 2009 07:07
Eighteen months ago the Honduras international arrived on trial at Arsenal and although Arsene Wenger liked what he saw, he was already spoilt for choice in midfield.

Around about the same time Steve Bruce, then manager at Birmingham City, phoned Wenger about another player and although the Frenchman was unable to oblige, he pointed Bruce in Palacios's direction.

Palacios went on to make a number of starts during four months on loan at Birmingham from Deportivo Olimpo. Yet it is only since he followed Bruce up the M6 to the JJB Stadium that the 24-year-old has really made a name for himself.

His powerful midfield performances alongside Michael Brown helped arrest Wigan's slide towards the Championship last season.

Since then Palacios has gone from strength to strength, culminating in Tottenham's failed £10 million bid for the player on Wednesday.

Palacios's displays have been even more remarkable considering the personal anguish in his life.

In October 2007 Edwin, his younger brother, was kidnapped from the family home in La Ceiba, Honduras's third largest city, by five armed assailants and a ransom in the region of £135,000 was reportedly paid for his release. However, Edwin remains captive.

Palacios's ability to deal with the stress of that situation and still produce eye-catching performances on the pitch, which have caught the attention of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, has earned him admiration from Bruce.

It will require around £14 million for Wigan to part with Palacios, who cost £770,000 a year ago, but the Wigan manager will not sleep easy until the transfer window is closed.

"I don't know how high Tottenham are prepared to go to. We'll see what happens when the money men start talking," Bruce said.

"The difficulty in this is not myself or the chairman saying to Wilson 'don't go' – it's what the player wants. I've been there myself, and how do you deny that chance when it's life-changing for the kid?

"I remember when I first met him. Arsene was instrumental in me taking Wilson to Birmingham before I brought him with me to Wigan.

"I was trying to get another player from Arsenal and he called me back and said he had this kid on trial who was good, but up against about eight of their top stars to get a game.

"He sent Wilson up on a train, he couldn't speak a word of the language and it was all new to him, but we knew straight away he was a player."

Other victims of kidnappers

Joseph Yobo: Everton defender's elder brother, Nornu, was taken by gunmen in Nigeria and held for 12 days before being released.

Robinho: mother of the Manchester City striker Marina Lima de Souza was kidnapped in Sao Paulo in Nov 2007. Released six weeks later.

Jorge Campos: father of Mexico's best-known player was seized in Acapulco in 1999. Alvaro Campos was freed after six days.

Kakha Kaladze: AC Milan and Georgia defender's brother, Levan, was kidnapped in Georgia in 2001. His body was found four years later.

Source: Telegraph