- Wednesday, 14 March 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
Gambia Under-20 international Alieu Darbo has claimed that he is close to penning a deal with English Premier League Wigan Athletic.
Alieu is expected to sign on a free transfer at the DW Stadium after being released from his contract at Ligue 2 club Le Mans in January. Darbo, who represented Sweden at a number of age-group levels before featuring for Gambia, was the subject of a transfer battle between Le Mans and Nice before he decided joining Le Mans in 2009.
However, the 20-year-old was released from his contract with Le Mans Football Club at the turn of the year and has since been linked with several English clubs in the Premiership, Championship and League One.
The Gambian winger spent time at Sunderland’s Academy of Light training ground and claims that he turned down the opportunity to join Martin O’Neill’s side in favour of the Latics though it is believed that he had impressed the Sunderland boss but struggled to gain a work permit and was training with Newcastle United later on.
Alieu told Swedish tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet’s sports column called Sportbladet, “I have a verbal agreement with Wigan [Athletic].”
“At the moment, I have a problem with my knee and must do some rehab work to get myself fit. Then, hopefully, in about two weeks time, I will go to Wigan and sign a contract with them. They [Sunderland] wanted to offer me a contract, but because of the reception I received at Wigan, which I never got anywhere else, I decided to pick them. Everything felt right for me.”
Alieu Darbo started playing as a child with local club Gunnilse IS and Marieholm to eventually become a youth player for Örgryte IS. After coming off the bench in a few matches with the senior squad, he was offered a contract with French club Le Mans FC in 2009.
Darbo made his first team debut with the club playing 35 minutes in the Coupe de France 2-0 win over Montsy Piggont. Darbo told Swedish newspaper Expressen that he had a hard time fitting in socially at Le Mans FC and he would be moving on to England.
He claimed that he developed a very good relationship with Arsenal winger Gervais Lombe Yao Kouassi better known as Gervinho, who he sees as his mentor. They both speak the Mandinka language. Gervinho stressed the importance of staying mentally strong and drive him home after practice.