Earlier today I made the foolish decision to look at Bolton Wanderers’ first-team page. It’s safe to say it’s looking bare. Then, I stumbled across a list of the latest transfers all across Europe on The Guardian - which, by the way, is incredible, check it out here - and spotted that a certain Nigel De Jong had just been released by Germain side Mainz.
That got me thinking, which other wholly unrealistic potential free transfers would I want Bolton to snap up this summer? Here’s what I came up with...
Out of Contract Players
The man himself... Nigel De Jong
Having just released The Saviour Who Didn’t Effectively Save Us But Is Actually A More Deserving Saviour, aka Karl Henry, we’re well short of some scandalous shithousery in the middle of the park. Given Stig Tofting is either 1) propping up some Danish bar or 2) in some Danish jail, the mercurial shithousery skills of everyone’s favourite De Jong would be ideal.
What we may be lacking in skill, De Jong would make for in pure nastiness. He wasn’t too well regarded during his stint for LA Galaxy in MLS, where fans were more than happy to see the back of ‘The Destroyer.’ I don’t doubt he’d be a useful addition at Championship level, but Stuart Holden might not agree, and might want to look away now... Ouchy.
A little more cultured central midfield option than De Jong, the former France international has been without a club since January. Having amassed combined transfer fees of more than £20 million through moves to Lyon, Monaco and Malaga, he’s made 559 career appearances and won 36 caps for France, so he’s got plenty of experience. He’s been without a club since leaving Bordeaux in Janaury, so who knows why or whether his legs have gone, but could a move to England appeal to end his career?
Remember him? The kid who arrived at Manchester United full of promise in a £20 million move from Porto in 2007, the latest Brazilian wonderkid. No, not Fabio Rochembach, Anderson had moments of brilliance at United, even winning European Golden Boy in 2008 but never really delivered on his promise. But if you thought that was a fall from grace, then things have gone even worse for him since departing Old Trafford - to the point that he’s just been free transferred by his most recent club back home in Brazil, Independiente. So he is available, still only 30, but most likely uninterested, probably not very good, and very likely damaged goods.
I guess this one could be a semi serious suggestion, the former QPR, Marseille and Sevilla midfielder is only 32 and was recently released by Chinese side Hebei China Fortune. So he’s probably rubbish, but he has won 67 caps for Cameroon.
A bit left-field, I’ll admit, but this guy has 2 caps for Spain, he signed for Sporting for £7 million from Sevilla back in 2011, and is available upon the expiry of his contract at Anderlecht. And he’s still only 30. The left-winger has scored 29 goals and claimed 53 assists in his 361 career appearances thus far. Could be an option, but I highly doubt he fancies a move to the tropical climate of Horwich.
I remember this guy playing for Croatia a few years back - mainly because he’s obviously a naturalised Brazilian - and he looked average at best, with the occasional chance he might do something amazing out of the blue. Probably not what we need, especially as he’s now 31 so probably more inclined to be very much average. He’s racked up an impressive 10 former clubs, including the mighty JS Guoxin Sainty and HZ Greentown, as well as spells at Getafe and Dinamo Zagreb.
As well as 15 caps for Italy, Nocerino played for both Juventus and AC Milan and had a spell on loan at West Ham back in 2014. However, he was recently released by Orlando City so I’m suspecting his best years are well behind him. He’s now 33, and not an option.
Would you mess with a 6ft 4in American centre-back called Bobby Burling. Didn’t think so. He’s represented the soccer powerhouses of Montreal Impact, Chivas USA and, most recently, Colorado Rapids. Draft him in.
Expiring Contract Players
Remember when we gave Hidetoshi Nakata a final swansong at Bolton? Well, maybe Honda, fresh from becoming the first Japanese player to score at three World Cups at the weekend, could follow in his footsteps. The 32-year-old just had a season in Mexico, scoring 10 goals in 29 games for Pachuca, after four years with AC Milan. Have a word Hide...
A shocking loan spell at Hull City yielded a grand total of zero goals in 14 games, but that aside Mbokani actually has a decent goalscoring record. The Congolese has 129 goals in 323 career games, with a peak of 33 goals in 53 games for Anderlecht between 2011 and 2013. 15 goals in 25 games for Dynamo Kiev followed the next season, but the goals dried up a little during loan spells with Norwich and Hull. He scored 9 times in 21 games for Kiev last season, which is the last of his contract, and he would fit the bill of Phil Parkinson’s dream target man role - and surely he’s better than Clayton Donaldson?
You’ll have seen this big Icelandic centre-back at the World Cup, and he’s available following the expiry of his contract at Russian side Rostov. Apparently he signed for Fulham for around £4 million back in 2016, which I definitely don’t remember, but only played 17 games for them. He’s now 32 and you’d think he’d be a solid addition to our centre-back options, but would a move to the Championship appeal?
Another blast from the past, of sorts, the former Real Madrid playmaker has also played for Valencia before spending the last four years with Real Sociedad, racking up 160 appearances. He’s still only 27 and played 35 league games for Sociedad last season, so a move to the Championship probably isn’t high on his list of priorities, nor could we afford him, but he would be fantastic.
A player who always promised much, his career hasn’t quite fulfilled his potential. He scored an impressive 55 goals in 156 appearances for PSV Eindhoven, but his career has since declined dramatically with a move to Russia, then Ukraine, Turkey and, most recently, with Al-Wahda in United Arab Emirates. He’s won 95 caps for Hungary, scoring 21 goals, so would bring undoubted experience and we’re in desperate need of a decent winger.
Just imagine, Fernando Torres lining up at the Macron. I would love to see El Nino in the famous Bolton white. I’d make him captain, buy him a house, offer him ridiculous goal bonuses, give him the freedom of Bolton - any football management game bonuses I could throw at him. But realistically, he’ll be off for a final payday in China or the MLS.
Do you think any of these deals are possibilities? And who would you like to see arrive at The Macron this summer?