23-year-old centre-back, Kell Watts, has officially joined Wigan Athletic on loan until the end of the 2023/24 season, effectively ending his 15-year affiliation with Newcastle United.
Watts has been with his boyhood club since he was eight, signing a two-year contract in 2022, which means his contract is up at the end of this season. Provided he remains injury-free, he will see out the rest of his deal at the DW Stadium.
Watts enjoyed a highly productive loan spell at Wigan in the 2021/22 campaign, making 35 senior appearances for the Latics as they clinched the League One title and progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The Alnwick-born defender has amassed over 100 English Football League appearances during various loan spells at Peterborough United, Stevenage, Plymouth Argyle, Mansfield Town, and Wigan, despite a recent spell at London Road being hampered by knee and hamstring issues. He made just one senior appearance for the Magpies, however, in a cameo against Liverpool in July 2020.
Speaking to Latics TV, Watts seems genuinely delighted to be back at the DW:
"I’m obviously buzzing to be back.
When it first came about, it was something that I was really looking forward to doing. The last time I was here, it felt like home, so it’s nice to be back home!
Straight away, I felt the connection I had with the fans, and I hit the ground running.
Last time I was here, I created memories that will last my whole career, and I’m wanting to make more memories in a Wigan shirt now.
On the drive in from the hotel, seeing everything I am so familiar with, I was getting goosebumps being outside the stadium. I can’t wait to get going.
I will definitely have goosebumps and a few nerves at that moment when I pull on the shirt again and walk out, but it’s something I am really looking forward to doing."
If this indeed signals the end for Watts at Newcastle, he leaves with the very best wishes of everyone at the club. If he can avoid further injury issues, there's no doubt he'll enjoy a good career in the EFL and beyond.
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