Over the weekend, the Daily Mirror published a piece that named Blackburn Rovers as the likely suitors for Jay Spearing following Liverpool's apparent agreement to sell the player for what seems like a bargain price of £1.5 million. Per the Mirror report, Blackburn are waiting for Martin Olsson to finalize his move to Norwich City and use the funds from that sale.
Jay Spearing spent the whole of the 2012/13 season on loan with Bolton Wanderers, appearing 39 times across all competitions before breaking his toe at the end of the year and missing the last few fixtures. Over the course of the year, the combative central midfielder became a fan favorite with his take-no-prisoners attitude and tough-tackling style. Spearing won a Player of the Year award for his trouble and earned the calls of many fans for Bolton to sign him permanently.
With the emergence of the Mirror report and the aforementioned price tag, those calls rang out once more over the weekend, prompting questions about why it was Rovers and not Wanderers making the deal. What if the Trotters no longer need Jay Spearing?
Back in January, Wanderers signed defensive midfielder Medo Kamara from Partizan Belgrade for an undisclosed fee. Kamara would make 13 appearances for Bolton, starting off largely as a substitute before starting alongside Jay Spearing. In the Liverpool midfielder's absence, Kamara started as the lone defensive midfielder (behind Darren Pratley) and made the spot his own.
Kamara, like Spearing, showed his willingness to go into a hard challenge and come out with the ball, immediately endearing himself to fans. The two players share a number of similarities in their style of play, physical characteristics, and ability. Medo is only 25, one year older than Spearing, and comes with similar Champions League experience to that of the Liverpool man. That said, there are areas of Medo's game that better that of Spearing's. Kamara is undoubtedly a better passer of the ball than Jay Spearing and has an eye for long-range efforts that the loan man did not.
In a perfect world, Bolton Wanderers would have both players in the squad once more but with the public knowledge of Bolton's limited funds, it's far from a perfect world. For the Trotters, £1.5 million is a lot of money and that becomes the case even more when you consider that Spearing could be a backup to Medo.
The other thing to consider is if Kamara was ever injured, there is no member of the squad as it stands that would be a like-for-like replacement. The Trotters can likely compensate for that absence, however, with a clever combination of existing players. If the team needs to be more defensive, Dougie Freedman can send the squad out with a five-man midfield in which Stu Holden and Josh Vela would provide the defensive muscle as needed while assisting the attackers with the pair's well known box-to-box style.
As things stand, Wanderers have an abundance of central midfielders. That group currently includes eight names: Medo Kamara, Stu Holden, Mark Davies, Keith Andrews, Josh Vela, Darren Pratley, Jan Gregus. There's already going to be issues fitting some of those in. Stu Holden has shown in recent weeks that he can perform once again at the lofty standards he reached in 2010/11 while Dougie Freedman has shown an affinity to Josh Vela and Darren Pratley last season. Mark Davies will miss at least the first half of the season but when he is back, the mazy-run-making attacking midfielder should be able to fight for his spot once more.
Wanderers have a direct replacement for him as is and there are other options in central midfield to avoid a crisis. On top of that, there are still other pressing concerns for the Trotters. Freedman has stated that he still wants to add another winger to fill the very thin ranks out wide as well as another striker.
Yes, it would be great for Bolton Wanderers to once again have Jay Spearing in the team. It would be great to have the luxury of a player that's proven his class in the Championship for this Bolton team. Jay Spearing was great for Bolton Wanderers and there is no question about that. Yet, at this moment in time, do Bolton Wanderers really need him?