As we all know, Sammy Ameobae has trundled back off to the north east, his tail tucked between his exceedingly long legs with Bolton Wanderers not able to pay his return ticket on the train due to transfer embargo bullshit.
Ameobi has been arguably Bolton’s most influential attacking player so far this season, and unless we see a Tim Breacker and Lee Anderson miracle it looks as though were going to have to get used to life without our dear Sammy.
I’m going to review the options we have to replace him:
Henry has had a disappointing first half of the season with Wanderers spending most of the time sat on the bench, which is something I don’t think anyone would have predicted when we first signed the 27 year old on a 4 month loan back in August.
Henry is largely regarded to be a quality championship level player and looked a real coup signing when he was announced on transfer deadline day along with Ameobi. In the last two games he’s really shown off his attributes and what his type of winger can bring to our side.
He has wonderful technique and looks dangerous every time he’s on the ball wherever around the box.
It’s crazy to think if Henry was in our side for the first half of last season in the division above, he would have probably been a regular starter.
The fact Henry hasn’t been playing is a credit to how good Zach, and of course Ameobae have been in the last few months. Back in 2016 BA (before Ameobi) I’d of been extremely happy to have him starting in that wide midfield role, but having had the Nigerian gazelle I think it’s going to be hard for him to fill those huge aluminous boots.
However talented I believe Henry is, he’s not the sort of game winner Sammy was, with the ability to swivel the ball on to his left and smash it into the top bag from 30 yards within a few seconds or skip around two or three players taking the load off the defence when we’re under pressure.
Sometimes whether you win one or three points in tight games is decided by moments of individual brilliance and I don’t think Henry will be able to produce that as much as Sammy did.
Max is another player who’s not had much action this season but for different reasons. A string of injuries had kept Clayton without a league appearance in just over a year.
The young forward who was Dougie’s last signing has shown potential when fit and was a big player for Neil Lennon in his Bolton honeymoon period.
But that seems like a lifetime ago now and with only 6 months left on his contract, Max will need to take the bull by the horns if he gets a chance to prove himself in the Sammy Ameobi sized hole on the right.
Things have started well for Max since his comeback, reminding some people of his talent with a well taken last minute winner at the Ricoh Arena. I really want Max to step up now and force his way into the first 11 because he is such a likeable lad and too be injured that long at such a young age for a footballer must be totally demoralising.
Unfortunately I just can’t see this happening without an injury to Clough or Henry.
With Sammy gone I assume we’ll be able to use the money we spent on his wages and look for a replacement.
Adam Le Fondre has been rumoured for a return this past week. If this came to fruition it would probably have to bring change in system which has shown to be solid for the whites so far this season.
As much as I’d like a goal scorer like ALF I don’t think we should take the gamble and risk going back to a side that has more balls in its net than Kim Kardashian has had balls in her mouth. I think Parkinson and co should be looking for a direct replacement to fit in our trusted 4231 formation.
An example of the sort of player I think we should be looking to replace Sammy with is Aston Villa’s Andre Green. Aston Villa have recently said they are looking to loan out the 18 year old winger, a lad who broke his way into the first team at 17 years old during the back end of last season, whilst Villa were in the Premier League.
He was linked with a move in the summer with Arsenal and Liverpool reportedly interested and would bring competition to Clough and Henry on the wings, although again when compared with Sammy would be seen as a lesser replacement.
Huddersfield’s Sean Scannell is a player I’ve always rated and isn’t playing as regularly as usual this season. He’d again bring competition to the wingers we already have and boasts over 300 appearances at Championship level. But then again he doesn’t have gorgeous mane like hair like Ameobae.
I really do think life without Sammy is going to be much tougher than most Wanderers fans are expecting and whether we achieve automatic promotion or not come April 30th will hinge on his replacement in this window.
Over to you Lee Anderson…