What Bolton need is a diamond in the rough

Stu Forster

The talk of Boton's need for a 20-goal-per-season striker extends far beyond this for summer for Wanderers fans. As the Bolton News said earlier in the day, the Trotters have not had any one player score 20+ goals since Michael Ricketts did it in the 2000/01 season. Since 2002, the highest total for a single player has been 12 goals, a feat achieved on six separate occasions by six different players: Kevin Nolan, Stelios Giannakopoulos, Nicolas Anelka, Kevin Davies, Ivan Klasnic, and Chris Eagles.

Wanderers have been able to get goals from just about everyone in the team for as long as most fans can remember. That said, no one player has been able to really push Bolton over the edge in terms of scoring capacity. For the sake of comparison, Bolton's top four scorers in the league last season (Chris Eagles, David Ngog, Mark Davies and Kevin Davies) combined for 32 goals. Crystal Palace's leading scorer, Glenn Murray, had 30 on his own while Burnley's Charlie Austin scored 24 times.

What Bolton fans wouldn't give for a forward putting up those kinds of figures.

The problem lies in the funds (or lack thereof) that Wanderers are making available for transfers. Dougie Freedman has already said on multiple occasions that he won't risk the club's future by overspending. Due to that, we can rule out any big name moves that would demand either high wages or high transfer fees.

What Bolton Wanderers need is a diamond in the rough.

The two players mentioned above, Murray and Austin, are specific examples of that. Glenn Murray joined Crystal Palace in the summer ahead of the 2011/12 season on a free transfer after rejecting Brighton & Hove Albion's final contract offer. Charlie Austin moved to Burnley from Swindon Town in the winter of the 2011/12 season following the failure of a move that would have taken him to Ipswich Town. The fee for his move to Burnley was officially undisclosed but likely in the neighborhood of the £1.5 million that Ipswich Town were reportedly willing to pay.

We know that Dougie Freedman is looking for striking options for Bolton Wanderers this sumer with Jermaine Beckford the one that had previously been in talks. Bolton also have a few in-house options already but the questions about their scoring potential remains. Under Dougie, David Ngog really began to find his form both in terms of scoring and providing. Similar things can be said about Craig Davies, who had a knack of positively contributing when coming on as a late-game substitute. Davies only managed to score four times for Bolton but was unlucky not to bang a few more in, hitting the post on a few occasions.

The fans are still patiently waiting for Marvin Sordell's game in a Bolton shirt to really click but some remain hopeful that he'll come good and soon. Then, there's young Tom Eaves, who finally made his Bolton debut late in the season, following successful loan spells at Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury Town. The tall forward failed to score for Bolton in his three short substitute appearances but the desire was certainly there.

Still, it seems that Dougie will continue the search to add another striking option to the Trotters. The defense has already been tightened up with a pair of signings at the back and now the emphasis is on the front men. Freedman will likely have to dig deep to unearth a hidden gem that can kick-start Wanderers' offensive production.

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