With the transfer window yet to officially open Dougie Freedman has been busy securing deals for players who will be immediately registered when the time comes. Thursday saw the confirmation that Marc Tierney will join Hayden White and Conor Wilkinson in becoming members of the Bolton Wanderers. There is expected to be official confirmation on Alex Baptiste signing up as well once the window opens, making for a very busy start to the transfer window for Bolton.
There are a number of positions that need strengthening, particularly the wide areas, but it seems a goal scorer is high on Dougie's shopping list. This season we relied heavily on goals coming throughout the team. Chris Eagles finished the top scorer with 12, though Craig Davies also scored 12 over the course of the season for both Barnsley and Bolton Wanderers.
As much as a 20-goal-a-season striker would help, it is not imperative, as Cardiff showed with their top scorer having 8 goals. Teams such as Blackburn and Burnley have also shown that a ‘goal machine' does not guarantee success.
The last player to score over 20 goals in a season for Bolton was Michael Ricketts with 21 in the league and 24 in all competitions in our last promotion season. Thankfully we have never really needed one player to score the bulk of our goals, but it would help take the burden off the likes of Eagles. Alan Nixon has pointed out that Dougie is looking for a genuine goal-scorer, with our current crop of strikers failing to hit the back of the net regularly enough.
Names mentioned so far include Jermaine Beckford and more recently Nicolas Anelka, both of whom have had decent scoring records in the past, but not the recent past. As Blackburn and Burnley have shown with Jordan Rhodes and Charlie Austin, there is talent in the lower leagues, though that does present a risk.
You then start looking for out-of-favour players at Premier League clubs, again a risk due to lack of game-time and dips in confidence, as well as inflated fees. The best value for money tends to lie abroad, as Dougie has proven with the capture of Medo. Again, this poses a risk, but one that perhaps needs to be taken.
It seems that Beckford is still fancied by Freedman and he has recently been told he can leave Leicester who would want around £1million for him. There could be a stumbling block over wages, with Beckford reported to be on around £30,000 a week at Leicester.
If Beckford isn't the answer, there are a number of options I would at least like us to look at. Billy Sharp would cost around the same as Beckford and has scored consistently at this level as has Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who would be a free transfer from Wolves.
It is still early days yet and I expect there to be a whole host of rumours flying around before we sign anyone, but one thing is for sure; I trust Dougie to deliver and sign the right players for the club.