It was the worst kept secret in League Two – but Bolton have finally announced the signing of Eoin Doyle.
The signing was described by Ian Evatt as a ‘statement of intent’ – and it’s almost no nonsense logic to go and get him. League Two’s top scorer last season? Eoin Doyle. Yes, go and sign him up. It’s almost as simple as that. Doyle scored 25 goals in 28 games for the Wiltshire club last season, but a mixture of a good offer, geography (his family is settled in the North West, having previously played for Preston and Oldham) and linking up with former team mate Evatt have seen him come to Wanderers.
He is apparently a player who needs to be playing in a team that plays passing football, in theory that should suit both him and the club, given Evatt’s outlook so far. He can score goals in this division, apart from a short loan spell at Portsmouth in 2016/17, he has in fact reached double figures in every season which he played in Leagues One or Two.
What can count against him is his streaky record, 25 last season, and 21 goals in 26 games back in 2014-15, but there were a lot of seasons in the Championship in there. There’s also the worry about giving a 32-year-old a three year deal, but that longer deal may have been necessary to secure what is pretty rare in any level of football, a decent goalscorer available on a free transfer. Even in the constraints of a transfer cap or embargo, or whatever you want to call it, the biggest part of your budget would go on who you expect to be your main striker. Some clubs have complained they couldn’t match what we were offering, but with all due respect, even in austere times we’d be disappointed with we couldn’t financially match or beat the likes of Swindon.
Overall, it’s a great signing – none is ever risk free, but Ian Evatt has brought in a player who he knows, who we know can find the back of the net at this level, and should suit the style of football we’re looking to play.
Now it’s a case of who we sign next – Antoni Sarcevic looks to be coming, but after that who knows?