Bolton Wanderers always had a reputation for picking up players on the cheap, if they paid a fee at all. These days we have completely forgotten what it is like to go into the market with some cash to burn. Looking back, I have pulled together the most expensive possible Bolton team.
Unsurprisingly this creates a fairly attacking team, which does mean a couple of players being used out of position.
The one note is that if you were to include all of the most expensive players signed then Robbie Elliot, signed for £3,100,000 million from Newcastle United, would be in goal ahead of Lonergan. All transfer values are taken from transfermarket.com.
GK: Andrew Lonergan - £300,000 from Leeds United
Upon relegation from the Premier League Bolton lost long term number one Jussi Jaaskelainen on a free transfer to West Ham United. Lonergan was brought in to offer competition for new number one Adam Bogdan, and the two would trade the starting spot until they left the club in 2015.
LCB: Gary Cahill - £5,000,000 from Aston Villa
One of a number of players brought in following Anelka’s move to Chelsea. Plucked as an unknown from Villa’s reserves he proved to be a fantastic purchase by Gary Megson. Cahill would go on to be capped for England during his time with Bolton. He would follow Anelka to Chelsea where he won almost everything available in the European and English game.
CB: Zat Knight - £4,000,000 from Aston Villa
The fans never really warmed to Knight, though he did strike up a good defensive partnership with Gary Cahill for a time. As a part of the defence which dropped into the Championship and then failed to live up to expectations his time at the club was hardly a success, and high wages were always a stick used to beat him.
RCB: Gretar Steinsson - £3,530,000 from AZ Alkmaar
Another player picked up by Megson during Bolton’s relegation fight in 2008. Steinsson would endear himself to Bolton fans with his work rate. Particular highlights were his, defiantly deliberate, wonder goal against Stoke City and his marshalling of supposed world beater Gareth Bale.
Though usually a right back, he will have to tuck into a back three Kyle Walker style.
CDM: Fabrice Muamba - £5,000,000 from Birmingham City
The Arsenal academy graduate was another of Megson’s signings showing his amble access to the cheque book. He would go on to strike up a brilliant partnership with Stuart Holden, which we were sadly robbed of seeing far more of. Another fan favourite due to his hard graft.
CM: Matty Taylor - £3,550,000 from Portsmouth
Taylor was another brought in to save the club from dropping out of the top flight. He scored the goal which technically secured Bolton’s top flight status on the last day of the season against Chelsea. His brilliance at free kicks was sadly never replaced, and nor was he in general when he moved to West Ham.
Though more of a wide man, he will need to play centrally in an attempt to create some balance in this side.
CM: Johan Elmander - £8,200,000 from Toulouse
Elmander came in with all the hype associated with a record transfer, but he was never able to live up to that hype with the exception of short spells of top form. He did though always put in a shift and I believe was sorely missed during the season when Wanderers were relegated. His highest point for the club is without a doubt that goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers, which was the greatest Premier League goal ever according to The Guardian readers.
He played well against West Ham at centre mid so will fill in there for this team, though don’t recall him ever filling in there again...
LW: El-Hadji Diouf - £4,000,000 from Liverpool
Without a doubt one of the key players in placing Bolton amongst the Premier League’s big hitters. Diouf spent longer at Bolton than any other club, which is a testament to Sam Allardyce’s man management. Not only did help place Bolton at the top, he was also vital in saving the club from the drop in 2008.
RW: David N’Gog - £4,000,000 from Liverpool
N’Gog was a signing who arrived to a lot of scepticism, did very little for Bolton, and then disappeared into the abyss via a move to then Premier League Swansea City. I remember at the time thinking he could be a decent signing, the naivety of youth. I don’t think I have missed anything with respect to his time at the club so will move on.
Out of the remaining strikers he would be most likely to adapt to a wide role, certainly the next man would not have accept anything other than being the main man up top.
ST: Nicolas Anelka £8,000,000 from Fenerbahce
Comfortably the most exciting signing on the list. Anelka arrived at Bolton with one of the most impressive CVs in football, but he was seeking to get his career back on track. After a slow start he burst into life against Arsenal and never looked back. Potentially his crowning achievement was scoring the only goal in a 1-0 home win over Manchester United, the clubs first in many years.
ST: Dean Holdsworth £3.5m from Wimbledon
Wanderers were one of 17 clubs Holdsworth turned out for during his career. He had a slow start on the pitch as Colin Todd’s Bolton slipped out of the Premier League on goals scored. He would though score 29 goals over the next two season to help Bolton return to the top flight. Holdsworth was also briefly part of the ownership structure at the club.
Total cost: £49,080,000
This amount would have almost brought you one whole Angel Di Maria when he joined Manchester United from Real Madrid in 2014, or about 30% of a Neymar in his move from Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain. How depressing.