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Latics seal Henchoz signing

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26 July 2005 | ©football365.com

Stephane Henchoz has signed for Premiership newcomers Wigan after passing a medical and agreeing a one-year deal.

The former Liverpool and Blackburn defender joined the Latics on trial last week after being released by Celtic and has impressed manager Paul Jewell enough to be offered a twelve-month contract.

The 30-year-old became Jewell's fourth signing of the summer after Rotherham goalkeeper Mike Pollitt and defenders Pascal Chimbonda and Ryan Taylor from Bastia and Tranmere respectively.

Henchoz is looking forward to the challenge and told BBC Sport: "I know I won't win as many games as I did at Liverpool, but it is another challenge for me and the aim is to stay up with Wigan."

Paul Jewell was delighted with his latest acquisition and said: "He's still fairly young at 30, but the main thing is he has a lot of experience and that can help us.

"I didn't want to bring in players for the wrong reasons. Stephane showed real commitment. He jumped on a plane to join us at our training base in Denmark and I was impressed by that."

"But he is nowhere near as fit as he should be because he has been training on his own recently.

"He is behind the rest at the moment, but in two or three weeks he will be fit and ready for the start of the season."

Henchoz joined Celtic last season after failing to win a place in Rafael Benitez's first team at Liverpool.

He had been a key member of the side under previous boss Gerard Houllier and starred in the 2001 cup-treble success.

But the Switzerland defender now faces a different proposition as Wigan are favourites for an immediate return to the Coca-Cola Championship following their promotion in May.

Henchoz, however, is unfazed by the prospect, and said: "I am prepared for a relegation battle. I know that when you get promoted, most people are expecting you to go straight back down.

"The challenge is to stay up. We know we won't win a trophy, but if we could stay up that would be our trophy.

"Wigan are a Premiership club right now and while they don't have the same glamour as other teams, we know we can make history if we do stay up."



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