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Taribo West recommended Jay-Jay Okocha to Bolton Wanderers

Do we have the famous Nigerian to thank for Okocha coming to The Reebok?

Jay-Jay Okocha and Taribo West

Bolton Wanderers have had a few Nigerian players over the years, from the legendary Jay-Jay Okocha to the likes of Daniel Shittu and Blessing Kaku.

If things had been different, Wanderers could have had one more. Former AC Milan and Inter Milan centre half & Championship manager favourite Taribo West almost signed for Bolton at the start of the Century.

Despite talks with West breaking down, the centre half played a part in Okocha signing for Wanderers, according to the man himself.

Speaking at an event in Lagos over the weekend, West stated:

“After my loan deal with Derby County ended, I was about to sign for Bolton Wanderers.

“Before the deal eventually broke down, I recommended to Sam Alladyce and the Bolton Wanderers owners to sign (Austin) Okocha which they did.”

How Okocha actually signed for Bolton is a fascinating story. Big Sam went out to Paris for talks prior to the World Cup. Big Sam sold the idea of playing for Bolton so well, that Okocha got in his car and drove all the way from Paris to The Reebok to sign his contract. Legendary.

Would Taribo West have been a success for Bolton? Guess we’ll never know.