"At the back, Real Madrid’s Francisco Pavon and Liverpool veteran Sami Hyypia are both central defensive options that have long been associated with moves to Bolton"
It was always going to be a summer of intense transfer speculation at the Reebok Stadium following the departure of Sam Allardyce, with a number of Bolton’s key players being routinely linked with moves to either join up directly with their former boss at St James’ Park or being deemed unlikely to stay at Bolton without having the long-serving Allardyce around to guide them.
Sammy Lee obviously has a tough act to follow, but he has been quick to make his mark in the transfer market. Deals have already been concluded to sign Aston Villa midfielder Gavin McCann and former Villa Park left-back Jlloyd Samuel, while Gerald Cid has also been snapped up from Bordeaux (a deal that was completed under Allardyce) as a replacement for the out of contract Tal Ben Haim.
Other rumoured targets in recent weeks have included Gelson Fernandes, the Cape Verde-born midfielder at Swiss club Sion, Ghanaian attacking midfielder Derek Boateng (Beitar Jerusalem) and Paris St Germain forward Pegguy Luyindula. Fulham midfielder Michael Brown and Portsmouth’s Sean Davis have also been linked, primarily as possible replacements for Kevin Nolan should the latter be lured to pastures new it would seem.
With doubts surrounding the futures of Nicolas Anelka and El-Hadji Diouf, Lee has also been targeting forwards. Djibril Cisse, surplus to requirements at Anfield, is one possibility, although much could depend on how much Liverpool want for his services or whether they could be persuaded to send him out on an other long-term loan. Izale McLeod, having recently been given permission to leave Milton Keynes Dons, has also been mentioned as a possible target. Watford’s Marlon King and Robbie Fowler, recently released by Liverpool, have also previously been suggested as attacking options.
At the back, Real Madrid’s Francisco Pavon and Liverpool veteran Sami Hyypia are both central defensive options that have long been associated with moves to Bolton. Another player that could apparently be bound for the Trotters is Lille right-back Mathieu Chalme. Lee also seems keen to increase his options on the flanks, with Reading’s Stephen Hunt and Guinea international Fode Mansare (Toulouse) both said to be under consideration.
If Lee can keep the core of the squad he inherited together (Sunderland’s apparent interest in goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen is another concern) then, with a couple more new faces to bolster a squad that will be competing on both domestic and European fronts, Bolton should be capable of securing a mid-table finish. Were there to be any major exodus of his top players though, Lee could be facing an uncomfortable season battling for both Bolton’s top-flight and his own managerial survival.