Bolton Wanderers currently have a large number of wingers and strikers on their books. There will need to be some turn over in these positions to allow for some added quality.
Bolton are well stocked out wide with Dennis Politic, Lloyd Isgrove, Nathan Delfouneso, Arthur Gnahoua, Oladapo Afolayan and Zak Elbouzedi. I would say that is one too many, plus we will want some new to put pressure on those already in the squad.
Politic will be like a new signing having been injured all season. He is one I am excited to see back out on the pitch in a few months. His return though does not remove the importance of a new face.
Afolayan will have decisions to make in the summer, with his West Ham United contract expiring. I am hoping we will be able to convince him to stick around in Bolton, but he may well receive other interest. If we cannot keep him a lot of work will need to be out into finding someone else with his effortless dribbling ability.
Isgrove has done enough to merit a place in the squad next season. He has made some important contributions and has the kind of work ethic which could be valuable against the league’s better sides. He offers a different option out wide which is valuable for tactical flexibility.
Delfouneso, I think, is a difficult one. He scored a decent number of goals last season and made some telling contributions with moments of quality. There were also though plenty of occasions on which he did not have the level of impact I think we all anticipated of him. His experience in League One could be useful, but at the same time when stepping up a level we need players who will more consistently affect games. If there are some interesting options available I would certainly be tempted to upgrade.
The final two players Gnahoua and Elbouzedi should in my view be let go. The local hero Gnahoua made some vital contributions earlier in the season, and will no doubt remain a cult hero, but he was not able to continue his form into the run in. Elbouzedi grew during his time with the club but ultimately did not do enough to convince me that he should be kept on.
This would leave the club seeking one or two reinforcements in this position, but that may depend on how long Finlay Lockett is out injured for. If he will not be available next season I would be looking to move on Delfouneso to make space for a two new names.
Eoin Doyle and Shaun Miller are of course the main men up top. Within the squad we also have Muhammadu Faal and Bright Amoateng.
Doyle is under contract still and should offer a good option in League One. We do though need someone who is capable of taking his place off him.
Miller scored some important goals last season but due to injury and the presence of Doyle was never able to nail down a first team place. On that basis, we should be moving him on and looking to bring someone new in.
In terms of the youngsters, Faal has done nothing to indicate that he is capable of making a case for first team football, and should in my view be moving on. Amoateng will likely be one for a loan, possibly a work experience job to keep him available in the case of injury to another senior striker.
I do not know the academy options particularly well, but if there is not another beyond Amoateng in the first team picture, I think we should be looking at another young striker to complement the other options we will hopefully have.