Bolton Wanderers have signed striker Max Clayton to a three-year deal. Marc Iles reported this signing as imminent for the Bolton News last week, and the club announced it officially on Thursday. This signing was able to take place outside of the transfer window because Clayton's contract expired on the first of July. The 20-year-old's former club, Crewe Alexandra, have agreed to a nominal fee, although the deal also includes a sell-on clause that substantially increases the value for the League One side. That is, if Clayton leaves Bolton and a fee is paid. Crewe were entitled to compensation because even though Clayton was out of contract, he is still a youngster that came up through their academy.
Clayton scored 16 goals in 92 appearances for Crewe, many of which were made from the substitute's bench. The player sustained a serious ankle injury last season, and that cost Crewe, as well as Clayton, a lot of money. Some very big clubs were interested in him prior to the injury.
Clayton trained with Everton, as well as this weekend's opponent, Wolves, before having a trial at the Macron Stadium this past summer. Crewe wanted £1million for the lad, and before he got injured they might have got it. If Bolton, or any other club, had signed Clayton without having agreed a fee with Crewe, the issue would have gone before a tribunal. This uncertainty was too much for a cash-strapped club such as Wanderers to deal with.
His market limited by his former club's demands, Clayton looked likely to move to Danish club FC Midtjylland, which would have meant a seriously diminished compensation payment to Crewe. Having been outflanked, the Railwaymen finally reduced their terms, allowing Wanderers to complete the signing.
Clayton will be eligible for this weekend's match, although given recent performances by Joe Mason (hat trick), Jermaine Beckford (brace last week), and Craig Davies (battering ram), he may have to wait a bit for an opportunity.