Bolton added a further signing today, and then a few hours after Alex Baptiste’s signing was made official, the club’s largely praised tactic of making summer signings early paid off in another way.
Firstly, a word about Baptiste. It’s a shrewd signing, he hardly left his first spell with Wanderers in a blaze of glory, but five years on, things are different, we are at a much lower level, Baptiste drops down to the fourth tier himself for the first time since 2008, and he will bring experience into a young squad and particularly a young defence. Only he, Eoin Doyle and Matt Gilks are over the age of 30, and while you’ll find few bigger advocates of signing young players than myself, most teams who get promoted generally have at least one regular older head. The only problem is that he has had injuries of late, playing league eight games in the last two seasons. He spent pretty much all of last season recovering from an Achilles problem, but had recovered to play the last couple of games before the pandemic stopped everything.
“I’m absolutely buzzing to be returning to Bolton Wanderers. I’ve had a good two and half weeks training with the club and the gaffer’s ideas are brilliant. With the way he want us to play these are really exciting times for Bolton Wanderers,” Baptiste told the club website.
Later today though, the EFL finally got around to bringing in a salary cap. Possibly of benefit to Bolton, signings and contracts already handed out count no more than a ‘divisional average’ so if we did pay competitive wages for the likes of Doyle, Antoni Sarcevic and Ali Crawford, we don’t need to worry about that too much. Given Football Ventures’ previous backing to such a cap, we were probably structuring our recruitment with that mind. Or at least you would hope so.
It’s largely a good idea, despite a lot of opposition. While the will to bring in as soon as possible due to the state of the world and the effect on clubs’ finances is understandable, it being brought in half way through the transfer window does seem unfair, effectively giving clubs two sets of rules in one window. It’s probably helped us out, but clubs who still need to make key signings are now a bit hamstrung. A flat salary cap is arguably better than a wages to turnover one, as it just allows bigger clubs to maintain their supremacy. Again, might be good for us in League Two, not so much if we climb the leagues.