LONDON (AFP) - Premier League Wigan moved a step closer to signing Hugo Rodallega after the Colombia striker was granted a work permit on Monday.
The 23-year-old is now set to complete a 4.5 million pounds transfer window move from Mexican club Necaxa, provided he passes a medical.
Wigan manager Steve Bruce, who was among a group of club officials who attended a Home Office hearing in Manchester on Monday which granted the work permit, said: "This is great news."
"I need to thank everyone behind the scenes at Wigan for the hard work they've put in on this one.
"We put together a really strong case and we're delighted we've the green light to press ahead now and try to finalise the transfer.
"It's not done yet, and the player will not be unveiled until it is, but this (work permit) was the major stumbling block.
"Hugo has yet to undergo a medical, but we are very optimistic about this going through, hopefully later this week."
Bruce is eager to work with a player who has scored 25 goals in 52 games for Necaxa, and six in 21 matches for Colombia.
"Like all our overseas transfers, we have worked very hard on this one," added Bruce.
"The club has sent delegations to South America to watch him and to discuss terms with the club and player, and we feel he can be a big success in England.
"He is strong and quick, with an eye for goal and if he is anything like the other South and Central American imports we have brought in to the club, we have netted another gem, that's for sure."
Wigan have risen to seventh in the table after a run of six wins in seven league matches. But they are away to reigning champions United on Wednesday and a cautious Bruce was doing his best to remain level-headed.
"I wouldn't want to say we are safe because the Premier League is unforgiving," said the former Manchester United centreback.
"We are not going to get carried away. It has been a fantastic run we have been on but we could quite easily go two or three months without a win."
"Everyone looks forward to going to Old Trafford and for obvious reasons I'll look forward to it.
"The one thing you have to do when you go to Old Trafford is enjoy yourself."
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