Loans have played a big part of recent Bolton Wanderers history. You only need to look at Jack Wilshere, Daniel Sturridge and Adam Le Fondre as examples, we've cultivated somewhat of a reputation for being a place for young players to see if they're really cut out for first time football. Sometimes it works out (See above, although ALF doesn't fall into the young player category, I just wanted to mention his beautiful name) and sometimes it doesn't, and the players who fall into the latter group are the ones who will be focused on in this series of articles. We start with Ryo Miyaichi.
Ryo Miyaichi was a very highly regarded prospect for his then parent club Arsenal, after a very promising loan spell at Dutch side Feyenoord where he garnered the nickname "Ryodinho" (lol) by fans and press alike. An extremely quick winger who had a penchant for taking players on and trying to create or score the occasional goal here and there.
Ryo was brought in by Owen Coyle on deadline day in 2012 and as a 14 year old Bolton fan at the time who loved nothing more than fast, tricky players I was ecstatic. Fully expecting him to set the league alight and save us from relegation I pinned my hopes on this fiery Japanese prospect.
He was voted player of the month in his debut month of February for his refreshing ambition, his explosiveness on the ball and I guess that one goal he scored against Millwall in the FA Cup.
You can count on one hand with several of the fingers chopped off how many memorable moments he had after that, mustering up 12 appearances in total for the Whites and scoring zero league goals. Ryo's time at the Reebok was far from Sturridge-esque.
What did he do after that? He went to bloody Wigan of course. This time on a season-long loan and only managed a quarter of the appearances he earned in his time at Bolton through injury. His only memorable-ish moment for the Latics being providing an assist in his debut match.
Ryo then was shipped abroad on loan on deadline day 2014, returning to the Dutch league where he was once crowned the Japanese Messi, so surely he would have found some of the success that made him such a promising talent three years ago? Nope, Ryo was a glorified reserve player finding most of playing time spent in the Jong Twente squad. Upon his return to the Emirates his contract was terminated; ending his five year stint with the Gunners.
Ryo Miyaichi now hones his craft in the 2. Bundesliga for bottom-of-the-table side FC St. Pauli, at the time of writing he has made 13 appearances and scored two goals for his new club. Here's hoping he's finally found his level.