Has Dougie lined up his Alonso replacement? Report says fee agreed for Australian defender

Mark Nolan

Does the name Trent Sainsbury sound familiar to you? It should. The 21-year-old Australian defender was linkedwith Bolton Wanderers last week. Now, per a report from the Daily Mail (take that how you will), the Trotters have agreed a fee for the man that could very well replace Marcos Alonso in Bolton's side next season.

Sainsbury's current team, Central Coast Mariners, have just won the Hyundai A-League and are one step from booking a spot in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League. They beat Korea's Suwon Bluewings away from home on Thursday to move into second place in their group. Sainsbury started and went the full 90 minutes in both matches.

Bolton Wanderers had reportedly offered Sainsbury a trial last week but the defender declined to make a decision ahead of his side's championship match. His services were, per reports, sought by Southampton, Swiss side FC Basel, and Dutch club Roda JC. With Marcos Alonso's departure from Bolton looking ever likelier, Sainsbury could be the man to take up the reins at fullback.

According to the Daily Mail, Bolton have agreed a £350,000 fee for Sainsbury and are now vying for his signature with Southampton. While the Saints can offer the young defender a chance at Premier League football, they apparently want him in for a trial first. Bolton Wanderers would take him straight into the side.

At 21 years old, Trent Sainsbury has 12 Australia U17 caps to his name and nine U21 caps. He was also featured in Australia's 2011 U20 World Cup campaign and is widely favored for a call up to the senior side soon. Sainsbury is mainly a central defender but he would be slightly undersized for the English game. He does have experience playing across the back line and could prove a versatile option for the Trotters.

Dougie Freedman has had luck scouting Australia in the past with Crystal Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak. The midfield enforcer spent a fair portion of his career at Central Coast Mariners before moving to Gençlerbirliği in Turkey. With a year left on his contract at the Turkish side, he joined Palace in the summer of 2011 and earned the captain's armband under Freedman. He retained the armband under Ian Holloway.

Should the move for Sainsbury come off, it would be very much in line with other moves that Dougie has made for Bolton, namely Craig Davies and Medo Kamara. They are players without experience in the English top flight but they are also minimal-risk purchases that have proven that they can punch above their weight.

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