As the weekend wound down and Bolton Wanderers fans began preparing themselves for a second year in the Championship and another try at promotion, the transfer rumors began rolling in. Dougie Freedman had said that the Trotters were looking at two names set to come in already with three more potentially in the cards and a certain newspaper thinks they know what one of those names is.
With Kevin Davies gone and David Ngog out until at least the start of the 2013/14 season, Bolton's striking options are down to Craig Davies, Marvin Sordell, and Tom Eaves. As such, Dougie Freedman will look to add to his attacking corps. According to the Daily Mirror, Dougie is interested in bringing Jermaine Beckford to the Reebok to boost Bolton's attacking options.
Bringing Beckford to the Reebok would be the wrong move.
Beckford, now 29, really started catching the eye of clubs about three years ago while with Leeds United, then in League One. HIs goalscoring record for the 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons was nothing short of remarkable, scoring 33 times in 42 appearances the first season before following that up with 31 goals in 52 appearances the following season. Those figures caught the eyes of Everton and in 2010, Beckford moved to the Toffees on a free transfer.
The Everton stay lasted for just over one season with Beckford making appearing 32 times and scoring eight (including one against Bolton) in the Premier League. The following summer, the striker made a deadline day move to Leicester City with a reported transfer fee of £2.5 million. He played 39 times for the Foxes last season, scoring nine times in the Championship over the course of 39 league appearances.
This season, Beckford started with Leicester City, scoring once in five appearances (in the League Cup against Torquay) before moving to Huddersfield Town on loan. He would make 20 appearances for the Terriers, scoring eight times in the league. While that goal-scoring record might sound decent, it is a bit deceiving. For 16 of those 20 games, Beckford's scoring production was abysmal to say the least.
Beckford's Huddersfield stay started well enough, scoring twice in his first three games and three times in his first six before drying up. A short cold spell broke in November with a lone goal against Barnsley before picking right back up where it left off and lasted for five months. From November to April, Jermaine Beckford made 11 appearances, failing to score in any of them. The season's final four games saw the striker score five times, bagging braces against awful Wolves and Millwall sides.
To put Beckford's season into perspective, Marvin Sordell has made 25 appearances for Bolton Wanderers this season (20 in the league, four in the FA Cup, one in the League Cup) and has scored eight times in all competitions. Four of those goals came against Premier League opposition.
Craig Davies, who has spent half the season at Bolton Wanderers after being purchased from Barnsley, betters that by some margin. In all competitions for both of his teams, Davies has appeared 41 times and scored 13. He has appeared 18 times for Bolton, starting five matches and coming on as a substitute in 13 with four goals in a Trotters shirt.
Then, there's the question of a transfer fee. Dougie Freedman has already shown on a number of occasions that he isn't the kind of manager to get drawn into a hyped name. His transfer policy has been to identify diamonds in the rough on cheap deals. Relatively speaking, Jermaine Beckford is not cheap. Sure, his cost has fallen some since the £2.5 million move to Everton but with two seasons still left on his deal, Leicester City will want some of that money back. When you realize that Craig Davies cost Bolton Wanderers somewhere in the neighborhood of £200,000 and provides better production and chance creation going forward, Beckford seems like a rip-off.
It's not necessarily that Jermaine Beckford is a bad player, it's that his record does not justify the apparent cost and he certainly is not a better option that what Bolton Wanderers have right now.