clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Missing Millions

We take a look at Bolton Wanderers's shocking transfer activity of recent years

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Tim Ream's impending transfer to West London (either Queens Park Rangers or Fulham) for a paltry £1.4-£1.75 million (depending upon which sources you believe) should not come as a surprise to Bolton Wanderers fans. The club has a rich history in being thoroughly done over in the transfer market since time began. As club debts have escalated, player after player has left the club for pastures new for a shocking price tag. We will delve into the archives, looking at both our transfer business, and comparative transfers that highlight our poor financial management over the years.

Gary Cahill

Gary Cahill arrived at Bolton Wanderers as an Aston Villa reserve player. At the time, eyebrows were raised at the £5 million fee paid to the Villains. However, the player that arrived in 2008 soon developed into a top class centre half with impressive pace, impeccable reading of the game, and an eye for goal from set pieces. The Aston Villa reserve player turned into an England prospect that had yet to reach his peak. After 130 appearances between 2008 and January 2012, Gary Cahill moved to Chelsea for a sickening £7 million. Since moving to Stamford Bridge, he has cemented his place for both club and country, forming one of the most memorable defensive partnerships in modern years with John Terry. He is now both Chelsea and England vice-captain.

Profit/Loss: Profit, £2 million

Similar to: John Stones (Everton)

Stones is currently subject to interest from Chelsea. Similarly to Cahill, Stones has developed into a top class defender at Everton, with the added bonus of being an equally impressive right back. Everton are allegedly holding out for £34 million for a player they bought for £3 million from Barnsley in 2013, rejecting two bids of £20 and £26 million from Roman Abramovic's Blues already.

Nicolas Anelka

Nico signed from Bolton Wanderers in 2006 from Fenerbache for a reported £8 million. The former Paris Saint Germain, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City striker had the town erupting with excitement. Anelka arrived at a low ebb in his career, scoring only 14 goals in his two seasons in Turkey, appearing at The Reebok low on confidence and fitness levels. After 11 Premier League games without a goal, he soon reignited his passion for the game, reaffirming his reputation as a top level striker, his brace at home to Arsenal in November 2006 a particular highlight. He finished his first season at Bolton as the club's top scorer.

Now this is where the Anelka story gets particularly infuriating. The day before the August transfer deadline in 2007, Anelka signed a new contract, despite previously stating his desire to leave. Did the club insert a minimum fee release clause? Did they shite. Anelka left in the next transfer window, joining (yet again) Chelsea for £15 million. Rumour has it that Eddie Davies personally bankrolled the move, and upon Anelka's departure demanded his £8 million back. As I say, it's only conjecture, but if proved true most Wanderers fans wouldn't be in the least surprised.

Profit/Loss: Profit, £7 million

Similar to: Christian Benteke (Liverpool)

Similarly to Anelka, Benteke scored goals in a struggling Premier League team despite interest from elsewhere. Again, like Nico, Benteke had expressed a desire to leave, however signed a new contract at his club in 2013. This is where Aston Villa had the common sense to insert a minimum fee release clause of £32.5 million, a fee that Liverpool gladly paid this summer, leaving Aston Villa with a rough profit of £27.5 million.

Jussi Jaaskelainen

Jussi was signed by Colin Todd in 1997 for £100,000. Usurping the legendary Keith Branagan, he went on to become one of the best goalkeepers (if not the best) in the history of the club, and also one of the best goalkeepers of the Premier League era. Sam Allardyce reportedly knocked back Arsenal's interest in Jussi on more than one occasion. However, in the 2011-12 season, Jaaskelainen developed a mysterious injury which kept him out for the bulk of our humiliating relegation season, something for which I will always find hard to forgive him for. That, and signing for Wigan. Jaaskelainen joined West Ham United and was reunited with Allardyce on a free transfer in the summer of 2012.

Profit/Loss: Loss, £100,000

Similar to: Asmir Begovic (Chelsea)

Begovic was similar to Jussi in that he entered England as an unknown at Portsmouth, and developed into a goalkeeper with a fearsome reputation after his £3.25 million move to Stoke City in 2010. Continued interest from (you guessed it) Chelsea proved too tempting for Begovic, who moved to West London this summer for a fee of £8 million, leaving The Potters with a cool £4.75 million profit.

Kevin Nolan

Kevin Nolan is the outstanding success story of our rise and fall as a Premier League outfit. Signing a professional contract at 16 after his release from Liverpool, Nolan soon developed into a first team regular, playing a significant role in our promotion to the Premier League in the 2000-2001 season after one term in the club's inaugural Academy year. Nolan scored a brace in the heavenly 5-0 win over Leicester in our first year back in the promised land, scored back to back winning goals at Old Trafford (which promoted Manchester United to briefly scout the player), and became the club's youngest ever captain at Anfield, capping off the day with a late equaliser on New Year's Day 2002.

Nolan moved to Newcastle United on 29th January 2009, for a reported fee of £4 million. He holds the record for most Premier League appearances without an England cap.

Profit: £4 million

Similar to: Fabian Delph (Manchester City)

Like Kevin Nolan, Fabian Delph cut his teeth in the lower leagues at Leeds, before becoming the club captain of Aston Villa at a young age, and soon the vultures were circling. Unlike Nolan, Delph managed to break into the England national team in 2014. Manchester City's desperate search for homegrown talent led them to sign Delph for £8 million this summer, only a matter of days after he committed himself publicly to the club.

Lee Chung-Yong

Gary Megson signed Chungy from FC Seoul in July 2009 for £2.2 million. After a fantastic start to his Wanderers career, Chungy won Bolton's Player of the Year, Player's Player of the Year, and Best Newcomer Award at the end of his first season at the club. Despite interest from Liverpool, he signed a new contract at the club after the 2010 World Cup. Lee's leg break at Newport in pre-season before the 2011-12 season is well documented, yet Owen Coyle offered him a new contract while he was on the sidelines, committing himself to the club until 2014.

It seemed an age for Chungy to reach the heights that he had achieved before his leg break, coupled with Dougie Freedman's terrible man management of the South Korean. Neil Lennon's arrival at the club seemed to rejuvenate Lee, who was given a free role behind the centre forward. His fantastic form under Lennon brought interest from Premier League club Crystal Palace, who signed Lee for a reported £1 million on transfer deadline day, February 2nd 2015.

Profit/Loss: Loss, £1.2 million

Similar to: Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Zaha emerged at Crystal Palace in 2010, and soon became one of the most promising young players in the Championship at the Eagles. In November 2011, he came to national attention with his performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the club's 2-1 victory in the League Cup, managed by none other than Douglas Freedman. Zaha chose Manchester United over Liverpool in January 2013, with Sir Alex Ferguson paying £10 million (rising to £15 million) for his services, yet was loaned back to South London for the remainder of the season. After an unsuccessful spell at Manchester United under new manager David Moyes, Zaha moved on loan to Cardiff in the 2013-14 season, where he showed glimpses of his ability. After a six month loan spell at his former club, Zaha re-signed for Palace for £3 million (rising to £6 million) in January 2015, leaving them with an overall profit of somewhere in the region of £4-£12 million.

So there you have it. Bolton Wanderers have been horrendously mis-managed in the transfer market since time began. So the next time your Tim Reams, Zach Cloughs and Josh Velas of this world leave the club for a paltry sum, don't say that you weren't warned.