For those looking in from the outside, Charlie Mulgrew’s season-long loan move from Blackburn Rovers to Wigan Athletic is unlikely to have been the most eye-catching of deals to take place on deadline day of this summer’s transfer window.
In contrast to that, for those observing the events while carrying a vested interest in either of these two sides, it will certainly have been one of the most surprising.
While Mulgrew’s powers may have waned somewhat in recent years, the Scot’s role as Blackburn’s club captain, made him both a huge figure in the club’s dressing room, and one of the most popular members of the squad amongst the Ewood Park fan-base.
Add to that the fact that it is a deal that has left Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray with just three senior recognised central defenders to call upon this season, and the decision to allow Mulgrew to leave does seem to be an unlikely one for the club to make.
For Mulgrew, however, you can, to an extent, understand his reasoning for being willing to make the short move across Lancashire.
While he may have played the full 90 minutes of Blackburn’s 2-1 defeat to newly promoted Charlton Athletic on the opening day of the season, the 33-year-old had been forced to settle for a place on the bench for the last five games of the previous campaign, where he could only watch on as Republic of Ireland duo Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams established an effective partnership at the centre of Blackburn’s backline.
With that partnership now renewed this season following a return to full fitness for the pair, it does make sense for Mulgrew to have elected to look elsewhere for game time this season.
That, however, has yet to really materialise at The DW Stadium.
So far this season, Mulgrew has made just two appearances for Paul Cook’s side, and it wasn’t until the final game before the international break – a goalless draw with Barnsley – that the centre back finally made his league bow for the Latics.
You have to wonder, therefore, whether Mulgrew will be slightly worried that his decision to switch to The DW Stadium will not pay off this year, something that will not be helped by his new side’s start to the campaign.
So far this season, Wigan have picked up just a single win, which came in a 3-2 triumph over Cardiff City on the opening day of the campaign, with the point picked up in that stalemate with Barnsley the only one they have taken since, leaving Mulgrew and co. just inside the relegation zone after the first month of the season.
While Blackburn’s start hasn’t been much better – they sit 17th with seven points from their opening six games of the season – it does at least seem as though Mowbray’s have laid the foundations with which to build on following some solid early season performances.
There is, of course, a long time left in the season for things to change, but while Mulgrew’s performance in that meeting with Barnsley will not have his individual cause any harm, the Latics central defensive options – which include the likes of Chey Dunkley, Danny Fox and Cedric Kipre – mean that is no guarantee of a regular spot in the lineup for Mulgrew.
If that does prove to be the case, and Wigan’s current predicament fails to improve, then you wonder whether Mulgrew may find himself regretting the decision he made on deadline day in a few months time.
It seems that that may well depend on Blackburn’s own fate this season.