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Wigan Athletic: Espinoza granted UK work permit

Roger Espinoza

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Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza's work permit application was accepted, which would clear him for a long-expected move to Wigan Athletic, the English Premier League club announced on its website on Monday.

Sporting declined to comment on the report, other than adding that Espinoza is still officially on the MLS club's roster. He was free to negotiate a future contract with other teams six months prior to to the expiration of his deal, but remains an SKC player until his deal officially expires.

“This has been a dream for me to play in England and I am so grateful for the club, who have worked so hard to make this happen," Espinoza told Wigan's official website. "I just can’t wait now to join up with [Honduran international teammate and Wigan player Maynor Figueroa] and all the guys and get to work.” 

READ: Sporting KC to unveil new Designated Player on Tuesday

Espinoza, 26, rose to prominence as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in MLS after being drafted by Kansas City in 2008 and in November announced his intention to join Wigan when his deal with the US Open Cup winners expires at the end of 2012. He finishes his MLS career with two goals and 11 assists in 113 regular-season apperances.

The Honduran international caught the soccer world's eye with a breakout performance in the soccer tournament at the 2012 London Olympics, where he scored once in four games and put in a Man of the Match performance and scored a goal in Honduras' 3-2 quarterfinal loss to Brazil.

“He is a player we have been following closely since 16th of June 2010, when he made his debut in the World Cup vs. Chile," Wigan manager Roberto Martinez explained to the club website. “In that game, he showed tremendous potential and slowly, he has been developing into an exciting footballer over the last three seasons in the MLS and has enjoyed terrific experiences at international level, specifically his role with Honduras in the Olympic games."

Sporting KC traded for midfielder Benny Feilhaber last week, a sign they may be resigned to losing Espinoza this winter, and announced they will unveil a new Designated Player on Tuesday.

Club CEO and co-owner Robb Heineman also saluted Espinoza in a light-hearted tweet last week.