Many Bolton Wanderers fans will remember the Dietmar Hamann debacle. If you don't or were perhaps too young, then take a seat. It's story time. The year was 2006 and Bolton Wanderers had finished the previous season in a very respectable eighth place with Stelios Giannakopoulous bringing in 12 goals across all competitions. It was in June of that summer that Liverpool great Dietmar Hamann had signed a pre-contract to move to Bolton from the Reds.
He was announced as a Whites player on Tuesday, 11 July 2006 and less than a day later, he had a "change of heart." Hamann would explain that he "made the decision too quick" and would ultimately sign for Manchester City, where he would stay for three years and make just over 50 appearances. City would pay Bolton £400,000 as compensation for Hamann and Sam Allardyce, then Bolton's Manager, would say that this was the "best transfer deal I have ever done in my life."
Alright, we're back to the present now. Take a second and let the nostalgia wash off you. The year is once again 2013 and Bolton Wanderers are on the verge of signing Blackpool's Alex Baptiste on a free transfer. The versatile defender has, according to the Mirror, agreed terms and signed a contract with Bolton, who are waiting for his Blackpool contract to run out before officially unveiling him.
This is where current Crystal Palace (and former Blackpool) manager Ian Holloway enters the picture. The Eagles' boss is looking to strengthen his squad ahead of their first Premier League campaign in nine years and is looking to bring his former captain at Blackpool back to his side. Of course, this wasn't a real secret as a report earlier this month made the situation pretty clear.
The Palace appeal for Baptiste in this situation is that he would once again get to play in the top flight, having been left out of it for all but one year of his decade-plus-long career. Bolton Wanderers, on the other hand, need depth at right back with Wolverhampton Wanderers circling over Sam Ricketts. Apart from the 31-year-old, Bolton still have Joe Riley (recovering from a recovering foot injury) and Tyrone Mears (status fairly unknown after missing a large portion of the season with blood infection) on their books, with the addition of young Hayden White signing yesterday.
Dougie Freedman remains adamant that Baptiste is his signing, speaking earlier this month about his chances and not mincing any words in the process:
"Once everything is sorted, I am signing him as a right-back, 100 per cent.
"He can play in other positions but I feel that is the position where he would be of best value to the team.
"Alex will come here because he wants to be here, nothing else. He had very good offers from clubs elsewhere.
"I want to bring him here because he has experience, he has played in the Premier League and he is a leader - someone who captained Blackpool last season."