Bolton captain Antoni Sarcevic completed a sensational move to Stockport County on Friday as he penned down a three-year deal at Edgeley Park.
The 29-year-old joined the Hatters after being dropped for Bolton’s trip to Plymouth last week, and subsequently rumors were leaked of a falling out with manager Ian Evatt.
Having captained Bolton last season, scoring 10 goals on their way to promotion, the midfielder drops down two divisions to a Stockport side whose eyes are firmly placed on promotion to the Football League.
Sarcevic won’t have to wait long for a return to the University of Bolton Stadium, as both sides are ironically set to meet in the 3rd round of the FA Cup in just two weeks’ time.
Stockport’s new no. 23. has an illustrious resume in the lower leagues of English football, and below I look at five lesser-known facts on Stockport’s star signing.
1) Manchester Roots
Sarcevic is returning to familiar surroundings having spent eight years with Manchester City’s youth side.
After leaving City aged 15, he joined Woodley Sports (known now as Stockport Sports F.C.) spending two years at the club.
During his time at the club, he played alongside Hatter’s captain Liam Hogan, scoring seven goals in his opening season for ‘The Steelmen’.
After impressing, he was rewarded by Blackburn Rovers who offered him his first professional contract after just one year of first team football.
2) National Representation
Manchester born Sarcevic represented England C team in 2013, scoring on debut in their 6-1 over Bermuda.
Also known as the ‘non-league lions’, the XI is a collection of the finest players outside the 92 clubs in the football league.
During his time with the side, Sarcevic played alongside notable names in ex-Watford striker Andre Gray, James Norwood and Stoke City’s Sam Clucas.
3) ‘The Manchester Messi’
After scoring on his debut for Plymouth against Cambridge in 2017, Sarcevic endured a tough 18 months, never quite reaching the potential he was brought on.
However, after signing a new two-year deal in 2018, the mercurial Englishman quickly became a fan favorite, finally finding his feet on the south coast.
He was later crowned ‘The Manchester Messi’ as his passion and consistency of performances made him the key figure in Ryan Lowe’s Plymouth side.
4) Promotion Specialist
The Attacking Midfielder boasts an incredible record in League Two having been promoted on four occasions since 2014.
He scored the winner for Fleetwood Town in their 2013/14 playoff final win against Burton Albion, before moving to Plymouth in January 2017 and gaining promotion in his first season at the club.
Although ‘The Green Army’ were subsequently relegated, Sarcevic stayed and repeated his success being awarded Supporters’ Player of the Year as Plymouth finished 3rd in the 2019/20 season.
His most recent success came as he captained Bolton to promotion last year.
The Englishman was at the heart of Bolton’s resurgence, as the side won 16 of their last 22 games to gain automatic promotion to League One.
5) Bolton Bust-up
Sarcevic was left out of the Bolton Wanders line-up last Wednesday against former side Plymouth, coming off the bench in their 3-0 defeat.
This was the first time he had been dropped from the starting XI this season and no news has broken yet as to the reasoning behind it.
Seemingly there was no chance of reconciliation as Stockport signed the midfielder within 72 hours of the supposed argument with Evatt.
Simon Rusk will be hoping Sarcevic can inspire his team into life, as the big spenders currently sit five points off the playoff places after an indifferent start to the season.
The Hatters play Barnet on Tuesday night with Sarcevic set to debut in front of what is likely to be a sellout at Edgeley Park.