The News of the World is reporting that Roy Hodgson wants to make the Wigan utility player Paul Scharner his first signing of the summer.

This isn’t the first time we’ve been linked with the Austrian international. Scharner was apparently close to joining Fulham last summer before deciding to sign a contract extension at the JJB Stadium.

But the paper believes that Scharner, who can play in the centre of defence or midfield, is keen to leave the Latics and move down to London. Hodgson is aparently confident that he can beat off the challenge of a number of German clubs and yesterday’s opponents Newcastle United to secure Scharner’s signature.

Scharner signed for Wigan for £2.5m from Brann in January 2006. Since then, he has made 116 appearances for the Latics, scoring thirteen goals. Steve Bruce has mostly used him as a centre bac – but once played him as a support striker. He has 16 caps for Austria, having made his international comeback under Karel Bruckner last August after being left out of the Euro 2008 squad.