As the souped-up hype machine that is the January transfer window creaks open once more, we look back to some moments of inspiration that helped turn the season around for various Bolton Wanderers managers.
Suffice to say, Neil Lennon wouldn’t mind dipping into the market to pull out one or two off these masterstrokes, but knowing the Whites’ luck this season, he’d probably be more likely to secure an Otsemobor than a Sturridge.
Five January window transfers that worked out…
Gretar Steinsson (2008)
Initially turned down by Sam Allardyce before being signed by Gary Megson for £3.5m from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, the Icelandic’s route to the Reebok was a circuitous one.
The full-back soon became a fans’ favourite, scoring a goal against Hull that rubber-stamped their safety. Steinsson made over 100 appearances for the Whites, and is now a technical director at Fleetwood Town.
Gary Cahill (2008)
When Cahill arrived at the Reebok in 2008, Bolton sat just two points above the relegation zone. A £5 million price tag represented a considerable gamble for a man who had played fewer than 30 games for Aston Villa.
Bolton needn’t have worried – 130 performances and four stellar years later, Cahill signed for Chelsea for a fee of £7m.
Jack Wilshere (2010)
Back when Jack Wilshere was just a twinkle in English football’s eye, he was farmed out by Arsenal to benefit from the tutelage of Owen Coyle.
The midfielder played 14 times for the Whites, even scoring a decisive goal at Upton Park as Coyle’s men climbed away from the relegation zone.
Daniel Sturridge (2011)
In the unlikely event that Cahill, Wilshere and Sturridge lead England to glory in France – and the even unlikelier event that all three remain fit – then Roy Hodgson owes a debt of gratitude to Bolton Wanderers.
The Liverpool striker scored eight goals in 12 loan appearances in 2011, and even credited the experience as his biggest influence in a recent interview.
Adam Le Fondre (2015)
One from the very recent past, Stockport-born ‘Alf’ signed from Cardiff a year ago to bolster Neil Lennon’s forward ranks, and proved his natural prowess at this level with eight goals in a 17-game loan spell.
The striker’s impact was made clear earlier this season, when Lennon spoke very highly of his former charge ahead of his return with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
And three to forget…
Salva Ballesta (2003)
We’ll forgive you for shouting ‘who?’ at this one. There’s no doubting that Sam Allardyce recruited some stunning, legendary players from abroad, but sadly, Valencia striker Salva was a total turkey.
In fairness to the striker – who in Spain is famed for his outspoken right-wing views – he did have a more-than respectable record in La Liga, but his six appearances for the Whites won’t live long in the memory.
Jon Otsemobor (2004)
Otsemobor has never been far from controversy in his career, and was even shot in the buttocks whilst partying outside a night-club back in 2003.
Sadly, there was never much of an occasion for partying during his time at the Reebok, and after making one appearance for the Whites, returned to Liverpool, stating that “he’d much rather be at Anfield” than at Bolton. The feeling might have been mutual…
Grzegorz Raziak (2008)
When Nicolas Anelka was sold for £15m in January 2008, a similarly prolific striker was the order of the day.
Step forward, on Deadline Day, Grzegorz Raziak. The Pole without a goal made seven highly forgettable loan appearances for Gary Megson’s side, and, unsurprisingly, was not offered a permanent deal.
Image courtesy of BWFC via YouTube, with thanks.