(Picture: Action Images via Reuters)
Wigan have completed the season-long loan signing of Brighton goalkeeper Christian Walton.
The 21-year-old, who signed a new four-year contract with the Premier League newcomers earlier today, has represented England at under-19, under-20 and under-21 level and becomes Paul Cook’s fifth signing of the summer.
After making his debut for the Seagulls against Spurs in the EFL Cup in 2014, Walton has only gone on to make three more first-team appearances, but he is very highly-rated on the south coast and impressed on loan at Luton and Southend last season.
Latics boss Cook is clearly delighted with the arrival of his latest recruit, and told the club’s website: “Following the departure of Matt Gilks it was clear we needed reinforcements in this area and Christian is one that we were keen to target.
“He had good experience in League Two and League One last season and has the potential to develop into a top goalkeeper.”
A number of clubs were interested in Walton’s services, including Plymouth, where the young shot-stopper began his career, and Cook’s former employers Portsmouth.
However, a move to Wigan is viewed as the best move for all parties, with Brighton manager Chris Hughton adding: “He played 27 times for Luton last season, and benefited enormously from the first sustained spell of regular first-team football with them.
“He also did very well in the seven games he played at Southend at the end of the season, and Wigan are getting a very good young goalkeeper who has good experience at League One level.
“For us, we will monitor Christian during his time there and hope that he can continue the excellent progress he has made to date.”
While Hughton remains on the hunt for a third goalkeeper to add to his Premier League squad, Brighton have included an emergency option in Walton’s deal at Wigan meaning they can recall him if needed.