Bolton ended up being very busy on deadline day, bringing in four new signings and letting a few go too. Here’s our verdict on Wanderers’ ins and outs yesterday…
Marcus Maddison – in on loan from Charlton
What can you say? It was easy to roll your eyes when Ian Evatt teased the prospect of a ‘maverick’ coming in, but we’ve signed a player who in terms of talent, is simply way too good for League Two. It’s obviously exciting to see what he can bring, for those who don’t know him he can play wide or in the ‘number ten’ role, he’ll provide assists and goals, ambitious strikes and takes free kicks. Of course, there’s always a catch, and he comes off a bad 2020 after he joined a Hull side in freefall down the Championship, then a Charlton side where his face simply didn’t fit with Lee Bowyer. His attitude has always been called into question, he is quite individualistic, selfish even, so it’ll be up to Ian Evatt to channel that and make him feel loved. But if he gets things back on track here, we should benefit big time.
MJ Williams – signed from Blackpool
Another decent signing – a summer move from Rochdale to Blackpool didn’t quite work, but like Maddison, a drop to League Two should work for him. He’s a defensive midfielder, and with Brandon Comley and Tom White’s disappointing spells here so far, he’s a welcome addition, and an alternative to Andrew Tutte. He can also play centre back, which allows us to seamlessly switch between a back four and a back three if required.
Lukas Jensen – on loan from Burnley
Not a signing I’ll claim to know much about. Despite the name and club he’s signed from, he is no relation to Brian Jensen. Being 6ft 7ins is a handy trait for a goalkeeper, but worries will remain that he could be another Billy Crellin – again we’ve gone down the young inexperienced goalkeeper route, he could be good but how would he deal with a bad performance or two? It’s a position where you can’t hide.
Dapo Afolayan – on loan from West Ham
Has done well with the Hammers’ under-23 side and scored for the first team in their recent FA Cup tie with Doncaster. It seems like we have Kevin Nolan to thank for enabling the move, Nolan being on the coaching staff under David Moyes. Whether he’ll come into the side straight away for us is another thing, but he’s a player that we’re told comes with pace, aggression, versatility in that he can play another in the front three and has dribbling ability. Don’t expect the world of him, he probably won’t be starting every week if everyone is fit and available but hopefully he can develop and play a part.
Regan Riley – sold to Norwich
It’s a bit sad really, a youth prospect just gobbled up by a club higher up the food chain, but that’s probably the reality for a club in League Two. While he looked good on his EFL Trophy appearance to Shrewsbury, he simply hasn’t been used in the league yet, and yet we’ve got £250,000 if the figures are right. I’m not sure it’s at all comparable with Zach Clough or Luca Connell, who had at least both properly broken into the first team. Now I’ve said all this, Riley will probably go and win the Ballon d’Or or something now.
George Taft – permanently left for Scunthorpe
An odd one, if Taft wasn’t playing for us, he was probably too good a defender given his career path to be on the bench in League Two, so there was at least sense in a loan spell at Glanford Park, but after just a few good showings, the deal has now been made permanent. I know we have loads of centre backs, but he could have come back fresh for next season and had made an impact. Taft’s quick departure also doesn’t reflect too well on our summer dealings as a whole. While I’ve always said we have a good side for League Two, it’s increasingly apparent there were mistakes made in some areas, in particular at the back.
Ali Crawford – loaned to Tranmere
A surprise out on deadline day, but if the result of that was Maddison’s arrival then it’s one that probably works best for all parties. Just a shame Crawford wasn’t sent to a club that wasn’t Tranmere. He’s a good player and it would have preferable to keep him but he hasn’t been at his best this season, maybe the injury that kept him out of most of last season hasn’t helped. Keith Hill obviously knows him and it’s only a loan so if Crawford finds his feet again it could work for everyone.