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Robinson likely out at Wigan Athletic following relegation to League One

Wigan Athletic fought for a chance to stay in the EFL Championship, but ultimately lost their appeal on Tuesday.

The Latics were relegated to League One after their appeal to the English Football League against a 12-point deduction was unsuccessful. Wigan entered administration earlier this year, but concluded the Championship season as one of the top in-form sides.

Paul Cook’s side posted a 5-1-3 record in their final nine league matches, but following the deduction finished two points from safety. Cook has since left his position as manager while many players could also be out the door this summer.

U.S. Men’s National Team left back Antonee Robinson was one of Wigan’s top performers this season, his first since joining the club on a permanent move from Everton. The 22-year-old made 39 combined appearances for the Latics, scoring one goal and adding one assist.

Not only did Robinson play a key role for the club, he became a target for a possible transfer this summer. Due to a relegation clause in his contract, Robinson could leave the Latics for roughly £1.5 million.

AC Milan remains very much in the mix for the American’s services while West Ham United, Leicester City, and West Bromwich Albion have all been linked to the club.

Hammers boss David Moyes was also in attendance at Wigan’s July 18th league match at Charlton Athletic to see Robinson in person.

With Wigan dropping into the third tier of English Football, Robinson is likely to be sold this summer to save funds for the club. A move away could also help Robinson jump back into the USMNT fold under Gregg Berhalter.

The left back has earned seven caps with the USMNT, but only one since Berhalter took over in Dec. 2018. He played 80 minutes in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Jamaica back in July 2019, but also remains an option for the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team due to this summer’s Olympic Games being postponed.


  1. I’ve been down the rabbit hole where IV makes a wrong point but tries to wear you down with incorrect correlations decided it wasn’t worth fighting so I changed the subject.

  2. Worth noting that Robinson’s contract includes a $2.0 million buyout clause in the event Wigan is relegated, which has now been activated. This means Robinson can effectively pick his destination amongst interested clubs, provided the buying club can come up with $2.0 million (which would seem to be well below his current valuation). Wigan has no negotiating power above this number.

    • You’re assuming they don’t just release him. The buyout provision is intended where even if Wigan wants him he can leave the relegated team. But a bankrupt team would probably just happily tear his expensive contract up and wave bye rather than play chicken on whether he stays (and costs them millions) or instead pays them millions on the option. To get him to exercise the option you’d have to pretend you wanted to keep him and then there’s the risk he takes you up on it.

      • I’d be utterly shocked. No way Wigan throws away an immediate $2+ million cash infusion when there is interest in the market (and there most certainly is at that price — Milan’s offer was in excess of $10 million). These proceeds will then be used to cover the wages of the players they intend to keep (in fact, they have already done this with Jenson Weir and Alfie Devine).
        Lastly, just because a club is in administration, it does not been they can unilaterally “tear up” contracts they don’t like. On the contrary, player salaries rate first in the priority of payments, as players are considered preferred creditors of the bankrupt club (under current British law). Wigan can’t just walk away from this. They’ll sell.

      • If he is sold it will be rapid. A team in administration is broke and will want to clear wages off their sheets or get money in fast. The season is about to start again and they aren’t going to carry his salary a month to see if his auction price increases over that same time period.
        Surely you are familiar with the euphemism “left the team by mutual consent?” Players and coaches routinely do this. Both sides agreed to tear up the contract.
        You no longer work for me. I no longer pay you. You have freedom, I have one less liability. This is often done when a coach is “fired” or a player disappoints. Eddie Howe just left by mutual consent the other day when Bournemouth got relegated.
        Technically, the player could insist on the deal or try to force a sale, but then he stays put until sold. Or the coach could insist on his deal, but then he is not working, and they may hunt for some excuse to claim breach — Piotr Nowak. Who in exchange for fighting to enforce his deal has since been able to coach Antigua and a club team in Poland — despite winning MLS and SS (though he was seen as an abusive jerk).
        And while generally teams cannot unilaterally tear up contracts, that actually is something that is allowed in some liquidations. Think “Rangers” or “Gretna.” No blood from a stone. You could hold out for your due but they may be broke and it may never come and they would own your rights. Or they release you and you can pick someplace new and get paid for playing. Hmmm not a hard decision.

      • i think people are confused. the usual clause is a relegation release clause. you get relegated, you let me go, period. or a minimum release clause. you get a bid over a minimum amount, you have to sell. i think he has the latter, as BBC sez: “United States international Robinson has a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave for far less than what was agreed with Milan, now that Wigan have gone down to League One.” i could also see him having a general release clause where he could buy out his deal and leave under any circumstances for $x million, becoming a free agent. but if he has transfer interest and a clause requiring him to be “released” for free above a certain amount, and he gets part of the fee, why would he instead pay to be a free agent? and he wouldn’t do a mutual tear up if he already had interest sufficient to trigger a paid exit. and he wouldn’t pay to leave when he can instead be paid his share of the transfer. and like i said, this will be fast because a broke team needs the wages gone and money in, not to hold an asset with carrying costs to try to make more money off the sale that may net out even or a loss. and if it’s ACM given what happened last time he would also want it to be fast so he can have plenty of time to clear the medical this time.

      • i think people are used to wealthy team tactics. a team fine on finances, plenty of money to make payroll, etc., players whose values skyrocket. here, the team is broke, probably living off bank loans until they get bought. offer me cash money i can hand the creditors or taxman and you can take him. or simply get him off my books with his EPL salary he is costing me every 2 weeks.

      • A lot of statements here, most of them entirely irrelevant to the current situation, which is really quite straightforward and will almost certainly result in a short-term sale. Let’s be clear. As long as Wigan hold Robinson’s contract and can pay his currently weekly salary (~$60k), that contract represents an asset to Wigan. This asset can be monetized in the short run, particularly as the transfer window is now open. So let’s assume Robinson’s contract can be liquidated immediately for $2 million, which is less than his market value and should ensure an immediate sale. What do you think Wigan does?

    • IV: did you see my response to the other thread this week. Weekend of Aug. 21 for the continuation of MLS in home stadiums. I believe the Canadian teams are the hold up because teams can’t travel there. Last I heard the three teams might just play each other a couple times and then have to pick an American home base. Sounds like you’ll play close teams to limit travel and they will try to have teams arrive and leave the same day to limit hotel exposure.

    • No, it’s relevant, you said he had a buyout if relegated. I think that’s inaccurate. I figure he has either a (free) relegation release — already earned — or a right to be sold to any team offering $x in transfer — probably already offered. He won’t have to pay to leave, and they will probably owe him a percentage of the fee. I don’t think he had to pay under any scenario, but if he had these other clauses as well, he would pick the ones that jettison him for free, or at a profit, first.
      To answer the “asset” comment, he is an asset, yes, but one that costs them money. They have to pay his salary until he leaves. It’s like a house flipper. They pay a mortgage every month until the house sells and they make their money. it loses money to hold the asset longer. It also cuts into the profit of the transfer to pay more salary for August.
      And if you are broke you can’t afford to hold the asset and pay its salary. The game of chicken you are proposing is a rich team’s game where they can pay the payroll without blinking, await an auction as the window closes, and even withdraw and retain the player if they don’t like the number. In their situation, Wigan needs him gone tomorrow. They need money now. They can’t risk making less money waiting on a bidding war. They can’t risk being stuck with the asset. They also will want to avoid their ACM mistake of waiting to the last minute.

      • Yeah, IV your wrong on this one. When a club goes into administration they sell all the good players that’s how you get the most money to pay off the creditors. Cutting his salary is like smashing one termite it helps a little bit the structure is still in danger. Selling players is like fumigating the house, when it’s done the house has been damaged but it’s sound. I give it a 99% chance he’ll be sold 1% that his contract is ripped up.

      • Ugh. The information out there on the release clause is all Google-able. You should do more homework yourself. But I’ll lay it out for you anyway.
        Based on the information available, everyone concurs that Wigan’s relegation triggers a 1.5 million pound (~2 million) release clause. This may be paid by another club or by the player himself. Wigan would be indifferent between the two — cash is cash. If a club comes is prepared to offer $7 million, Wigan would not get any more than $2 million, as the buying club would simply pay Wigan the buyout and keep the rest (or roll it into Robinson’s new deal). But they would likely not get any less either, unless demand for Robinson at the $2 million price point was unexpectedly low. Even independent of timing considerations Wigan have no interest in a “bidding war” — they wouldn’t get to keep the upside. They just want “fast”.
        Robinson’s monthly wages are approximately $65k. The transfer window is open for two more months (Oct 5), so Wigan’s maximum liability through the end of the transfer window is $130k. This is miniscule compared to the expected realization of $2 million. It’s a no brainer to go for the sale. Even if they are flat out broke, they could still easily finance the $130k against the $2 million cash inflow. Plenty of ways to do this. You don’t shoot a $2 million thoroughbred horse because you couldn’t afford to feed it. You pick up the phone and find a way to finance the value.
        Obviously, Wigan would like this to go very fast. Which begs the question — if Wigan had any interest in cutting Robinson, why haven’t they simply done it already?

      • For clarity, I do see the logic of your thinking, particularly in a situation where market demand was far softer than imagined. Certainly possible that Wigan would consider reducing their $2m compensation considerably to ensure a quick sale So you could end up with a “mutual consent” ending, in a downside scenario.

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