In days gone by, Bolton Wanderers were able to spot and nurture some top talent. There are still some examples like Rob Holding but many came during the 90s as Bolton rose back to the top flight.
GK: Ali Al-Habsi - £4,000,000 to Wigan Athletic
Assumed to be the heir to Jussi Jaaskelainen’s thrown, Al-Habsi instead moved to Wigan. He would become their first choice in the Premier League before carving a good career at Championship level. He certainly would have come in handy for Bolton when Jussi’s star began to fade.
LCB: Gary Cahill - £7,000,000 to Chelsea
What a bargain Chelsea go with this one. Reports were that Bolton could have bagged double this amount during the summer previous, and even that would have been a steal. Arsenal’s loss was Chelsea’s gain as Cahill formed a formidable partnership with John Terry as Chelsea conquered England and Europe, becoming the only side to simultaneously hold the Champions League and Europa League titles.
CB: Alan Stubbs - £4,500,000 to Celtic
Stubbs started his career with Bolton with two disappointing seasons in what is now League One. Following the appointment of Bruce Rioch he would remain a key man as Bolton were promoted through the divisions. He would become club captain in the year the club reached their first even League Cup final and won the play offs to reach the Premier League for the first time.
Rioch tried to take Stubbs to Arsenal when he departed there. Stubbs remained at Bolton though for the clubs first Premier League season before moving the Celtic to fill up his trophy cabinet.
RCB: Jason McAteer - £4,500,000 to Liverpool
McAteer cost Bolton the massive sum of £500 plus a big bag of balls. He was a part of the side which won two promotions in three years to reach the Premier League for the first time, and played in the League Cup final against Liverpool, who he would join early the next season.
In joining Liverpool he turned down a move to Blackburn Rovers, who had just won the top flight. He represented the Republic of Ireland at two World Cups winning 50 caps for his country.
Though he is a midfield player he was capable of playing right back so will have to fill in defensively in this team, however much of a waste it might be.
CM: Sasa Curcic - £4,000,000 to Aston Villa
Brought in with Bolton rooted to the bottom of the table his class was enough to make him a fan favourite but not to alter Bolton’s fate. Described as a Serbian George Best during his time at the club, his highlights include a spectacular solo goal at Stamford Bridge to open his Premier League account.
CM: Alan Thompson - £4,500,000 to Aston Villa
Thompson was a key member of multiple promotion winning teams at Bolton as the club moved from what is now League One to the Premier League. He scored Bolton’s only goal in the League Cup final loss to Liverpool and was the scorer of the first goal at the Reebok stadium, having also bagged the club’s first Premier League goal a couple of years earlier.
After moving to Villa he would go to Celtic as Martin O’Neil’s first signing for the Glasgow club. He was a key member of the team during O’Neil’s successful reign and would become the first Celtic player to win an England cap while plying their trade for the club.
CM: Claus Jensen - £4,000,000 to Charlton
Jensen spent two seasons at Bolton and during that time made his debut for the Denmark national team. He left to join then Premier League Charlton Athletic in 2000, at the same time as fellow Wanderer Mark Fish.
AM: Eider Gudjohnsen - £4,000,000 to Chelsea
As we discovered during LOVpod Rewind’s interview with David Speakman, this was a take it or leave it offer from Chelsea when Bolton needed the cash. Brought in following a career threatening injury, Gudjohnsen showed his quality in two spells at Bolton which bookended his illustrious career. His achievements include Chelsea’s first Premier League title and Barcelona’s 2008/09 treble winning season.
Though a striker for most of his career, he was utilised slightly deeper in his second spell at the club and will have to sit deeper here due to number of strikers.
AM: Nathan Blake - £4,250,000 to Blackburn Rovers
Blake struggled when brought into Bolton’s first top flight campaign, notching only one goal. He was though instrumental as Bolton fired their way straight back into the top flight the following year, bagging 19 goals as the club scored 100 in the league. He would hit double figures again the next season though it was not enough to save Bolton from the drop.
His form earned him a move to then Premier League Blackburn Rovers, though he was never able to match the tally of 12 top flight goals set with Bolton.
He will have to play a bit deeper in this team as we all know the next two names either wouldn’t or would be useless at doing so.
ST: Gary Madine - £6,000,000 to Cardiff City
How we got that much for Madine after half a season on top form I will never know. Karl Henry recently commented on LOVpod that he is amongst the best strikers he has ever player with though, speaking in particular about his hold up play it seemed. So maybe my first comment is harsh?
Madine was brought in by Neil Lennon to partner Adam Le Fondre, according to ALF’s second LOVpod interview, though ALF’s signature could not be obtained that window. After struggling for form in his first season Madine would become the key component in Phil Parkinson's promotion winning side the next season. His goals in the clubs return to the Championship were critical in the club’s survival following his move away.
ST: Nicolas Anelka - £15,000,000 to Chelsea
Anelka was never likely to hang around for long at Bolton, particularly when Sam Allardyce left and results dropped off dramatically. In his short stint at Bolton he played, by his own admittance, his best football and showed he had more than enough class to move to a bigger club. In came Chelsea with enough money to remodel Bolton’s squad for the relegation battle the club was in the middle of. He won the Premier League golden boot during his spell at Chelsea, though he was also the man who saw the decisive penalty saved in the Champions League final against Manchester United.
Total received: £61,750,000
Which is almost as much as Real Madrid paid for James Rodriguez and would have almost bought you approximately two Hernán Crespo’s in 2000.