On the final day of the transfer window, Bolton Wanderers had to get involved, and get involved they did, managing to sign up nine recruits.
They are: Thibauld Verlinden, Liam Bridcutt, Will Buckley, Jake Wright, Ali Crawford, Chris O’Grady, Josh Emmanuel, Joe Bunney and Daryl Murphy.
Here’s a quick guide to all of the new boys…
- Verlinden is a direct Belgian winger signed on loan from Stoke. Still a teenager, he has only featured six times for the Potters in the league, while he played twice for St Pauli’s second team while on loan in Germany two seasons ago, playing in that country’s fourth tier.
- Bridcutt seems to have got a lot of fans excited. An experienced defensive midfielder, he has played over 170 games in the Championship for Brighton, Leeds and Forest, and drops down into the League One for the first time since 2011, when he played for Stockport. He is on a loan deal from the City Ground.~
- Buckley needs no introduction, being with us for the last two seasons, but was out of contract in the summer. Keith Hill gave him his debut while at Rochdale, so hopefully a combination of a manager who knows him well and the division we’re now in will lead to us seeing what he can do.
- Wright can play centre-back or left back. A loanee from Sheffield United, Wright didn’t a lose a game he played for the Blades in their League One winning campaign in 2016-17, but injuries stopped his career progressing at Bramall Lane, and with them now in the Premier League, he was hardly going to get a look in.
- Ali Crawford might make some of those whinging Doncaster fans combust. He signs ‘permanently’ – but his contract is only until the end of the season. The Scotsman played over 200 games for Hamilton, before making 36 appearances last season as Donny made the League One playoffs. He’s mainly a midfielder, playing on the left or centrally, but isn’t known for scoring goals.
- O’Grady is now 33 and has had a long career. It looks as though he’ll be mainly a squad option, given both his age and his recent scoring record, which to be honest is far from spectacular. He played under Hill during the manager’s first stint at Rochdale.
- Emmnauel arrives from Ipswich – the right back has League One experience having loan spells at Rotherham (winning promotion) and Shrewsbury in the last couple of seasons.
- Bunney is a left-back, who has played for Hill at Rochdale. He was last at Northampton before being transfer-listed in the summer.
- Murphy is probably the highest-profile of the new arrivals. The downside is he is now 36, but his recent goalscoring record at Championship level has been okay. It’s the first time he has dropped down to League One, and may still have something tangible to offer.
So nine signings, any areas that needed to be desperately improved have been to some extent, while a couple of extra midfielders have also been brought in, which if Hill plays a 4-3-3 will be useful. The one missing link may well be still some pace up front, which seems a bit lacking, but it’s now a squad which looks competitive at League One level at the very least. There may still be more additions still, as we can sign free agents going forward, although it looks as if we’re subject to some sort of embargo for the time being. You can be sure the EFL will be completely transparent as to what we can and can’t do…
Possible Bolton team going forward? (4-3-3) Matthews; Emmanuel, Hobbs, Wright, Bunney (or Earl when back); Lowe, Bridcutt, Crawford; Verlinden, Daryl Murphy, Buckley.
Agree, or would you keep a number of the young players we’ve used so far?