Yesterday, we broke the story of reserves player Mark Connoll leaving the club. Today's loss is a little more grave. Ivan Klasnic, resident fox in the box, number 17, goal machine, announced his exit on his official website. The Croat first came to the club on loan from Nantes for the 2009-10 season, a loan which then turned into a two year contract. However that contract ran out at the end of this season, and given Bolton's relegation, he chose not to extend.
Klasnic wrote on his site:
"I can´t believe it and I´m sad and unhappy. I got a very good time in Bolton the last three years. I hope they [are promoted] next year to the premier league cause this team belong to the premiership.
I´ll leave the club, [I want] to say thank you for three years.
I´ll keep Bolton in my heart. "
The now 32 year old striker was Gary Megson's last signing and certainly garnered as much criticism as praise in his time at the club. Like many forwards, he went through prodigious dry spells, much to the irritation of everyone watching. He sometimes gave the impression that he wasn't trying, the 'laziness' that so many strikers get branded with. But when he did score, he proved himself to be amongst Bolton's most talented players.
This season he was Bolton's top scorer in the league with 8 goals from 29 appearances, ahead of Kevin Davies' 6. Owen Coyle had difficulty discovering Bolton's winning formation, and as often as not Klasnic was not part of it. It was a difficult season for all of the player, and given that Bolton are no longer at the highest level of competition, it's hardly surprising Klasnic wanted out.
This is, obviously, a much harder loss than that of Connolly, but this is the sort of exit we need to begin expecting as the squad readjusts for life in the Championship. It will be interesting to see where Klasnic ends up, he is growing old and he may have difficulty finding a club to take him on. Wherever he goes, we wish Klasnic the best of luck with the rest of his career, and would like to thank him for each and every one of the 24 goals he scored in his 3 year stay with Bolton Wanderers.