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Opinion: Why Moneyball means we should enjoy Santos while we can

Could Wanderers cash in on the fan favourite centre back?

Bolton Wanderers v Salford City - Sky Bet League Two Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus

As we have been told, this ‘new’ Bolton Wanderers has got into bed with the Moneyball principle. If you were born under a rock, this basically means that we now, as a club have recruitment model that uses statistical analysis, to help us (on the cheap) compete with clubs who have larger budgets by buying players that are undervalued by other teams and selling ones that are overvalued by other teams.

Look at how the Gary Madine deal worked, as a practical example. In my opinion, a very poor player who couldn’t get a game anywhere else because he was a complete donkey joined Bolton and with the benefit of a few penalties and tap-ins was magically turned into a £6m striker. I know, I know, it’s still absolutely hilarious.

However it also means that us, as fans, are going to have to get used to the club flipping players at the peak of their powers. Ricardo Santos being the prime example. We have all seen how he has transformed from an absolute no-hoper into a very decent player for the club. I’ve seen some even claim that he’s a Premier League player in waiting, but we’ll leave that sort of stupidity on social media where it belongs.

Santos is currently in the form of his life. This sort of form normally does not go unnoticed and this might mean, according to Moneyball principles, that the Bolton Wanderers board might well have a hard decision to make should any club with deeper pockets than ours come along in January. Given how tight we all know our budget to be, you would have to think that an offer of at least £250,000 for someone we signed for nothing a few months ago would be very hard to turn down.

It’s not a good idea to get connected to players in the modern game, such is the turnover of staff, but in the Moneyball era we have to realise, as supporters, that not every deal we do is ‘asset stripping’ the club. Tough decisions have to be made, at this level, and if that means cashing in on someone who is an asset at the peak of their powers - especially someone like Santos who has shown that he is also capable of going the other way, then so be it.