Who is this 23-year-old League One sensation Celtic and Aston Villa are fighting to sign? All you need to know

Scout Report – Nick Powell

Wigan Athletic midfielder Nick Powell is a summer transfer target for Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion, according to a report from the Sun (via Birmingham Mail). The report also claims that the Seagulls will have to beat the likes of Scottish champions Celtic and Championship outfit Aston Villa, who are also in the hunt for the Latics man.  

The 23-year old has been garnering great reputation with his displays for Wigan in the English third tier and seems to have alerted several clubs of his potential. So far in the 2017/18 campaign, Powell has netted 12 goals and registered 3 assists in 28 League One appearances, helping his side to the third place in the standings. 

With interest in him mounting by the day, here we take a closer look at who Nick Powell is and what makes him such an attractive prospect for the likes of Villa, Celtic and Brighton.  

Background 

Born on 23 March 1994, in Crewe, England, Powell joined up with the academy of local club Crewe Alexandra at the age of five and came through the ranks to make his debut in a League Two encounter in August 2010. That made him the second youngest player ever to represent the club at the age of 16. 

The midfielder had a very good 2011/12 campaign, helping the Latics to a promotion to the League One, scoring a goal in the 2-0 win over Cheltenham Town in the playoff finals. Having made 64 appearances in which he scored 16 times and assisted 8 goals, his potential was recognized by then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the Red Devils signed him in July 2012.  

Nick Powell
Nick Powell

Sir Alex envisaged a great future for the Englishman and went on to claim that he had the ability to be the long-term successor to the legendary Paul Scholes at Old Trafford. However, things did not go all that well for Powell at United, as he made just 6 first-team appearances in his debut season, scoring once.  

At the start of the next season, Powell was loaned out to Wigan by new United manager David Moyes, where he impressed with 13 goals and 3 assists from 42 games in all competitions. In September 2014, he joined Leicester City on loan and made just 3 appearances, before the Foxes decided to terminate the deal in January, citing a lack of commitment from the player.  

Powell featured just twice for United in the 2015/16 campaign, before moving to Hull City on loan for the second half of the season for whom he played just five times. In July 2016, the midfielder completed a permanent move away from Manchester United, joining Wigan Athletic. He made 21 appearances for the Latics, scoring six times, as his side got relegated to the third tier from the Championship. This season, however, the 23-year old has upped his game and has emerged as one of the best players in the division.  

Powell has represented the England national team at all youth levels starting from the U-16s to the U-21s. 

Style of Play 

Powell is a very versatile and a flexible operator who is primarily a central midfielder but can also play as an attacking midfielder and a secondary striker. In addition to that, he has even been used as a centre-forward at times, while he can also slot in on either flank.  

One of his biggest strengths throughout his career has been his knack for scoring goals from the midfield. At each of his clubs, the 23-year old has maintained a healthy goalscoring record and offers a threat with his impressive technical ability and long-range shooting. A good dribbler of the ball as well, the Englishman can drive his team forward with the ball from the middle and is an able passer of the ball.  

The attacking facets of his game are well balanced with solid defensive responsibility as well. Powell shows good strength and grit to shield possession in the middle and isn’t afraid to go into tackles as well. 

What Does the Future Hold? 

Powell had been tipped for great things very early in his career, but things did not go according to plans for him back then, with his attitude being questioned on several occasions. However, the 23-year old seems to have turned things around since moving to Wigan and is showing signs of fulfilling the immense promise that he had always shown.  

While Wigan are looking likely to return to the Championship this term, it is unlikely that the player would be staying at the DW Stadium if the likes of Villa, Celtic and Brighton do come calling. And if he maintains this level of commitment at his new club, Powell could prove to be a brilliant signing. 

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