The 26-year-old is set to arrive at the University of Bolton Stadium on the expiration of his contract at the Abbey Stadium – and this could be the start of a busy summer for Ian Evatt who will be keen to improve further following a positive 2021/22 campaign.
They may have fallen short in their quest to secure a top-six place but considering they were only promoted from League Two at the end of 2020/21, they can be pleased with their efforts.
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Evatt won’t want to rest on his laurels though and this is why he will be looking to have another productive transfer window, with a few matters to address both in terms of incomings and outgoings.
The former will be particularly important with loanees returning to their parent clubs and several first-teamers confirmed to be leaving on the expiration of their deals this summer.
After confirming these departures, there are other short-term transfer issues they will need to deal with and we discuss four below.
Time to wrap up a permanent deal for Fossey
According to The Bolton News, the Trotters are closing in on a deal to take Fulham full-back Marlon Fossey to Greater Manchester on a permanent basis, a real coup for the third-tier side.
Although Cyrus Christie will leave in the summer with Neco Williams returning to Liverpool, there isn’t likely to be room for Fossey to compete with Kenny Tete in the Premier League next season and this is why they may be able to negotiate a cut-price fee for his services.
However, a deal hasn’t yet been confirmed and with this potential agreement yet to be made official, they will need to add the finishing touches needed to get this transfer over the line before another side swoops in.
Recording one goal and five assists in 15 league appearances for Bolton, he’s one player who simply must come in to give themselves the firepower needed to take them to new heights next term.
A Trafford replacement
Although Joel Dixon may be able to step up to the plate, a replacement for James Trafford would be ideal, whether they enter the loan market again or decide to pursue a permanent agreement.
With other areas to address and no guarantees that they will generate a huge amount of revenue on potential departures this summer, they may feel the need to try and pursue a fresh agreement for Trafford, with parent side Manchester City potentially willing to subsidise his wages on the condition he wins plenty of first-team minutes.
Alternatively, they could look to the free-agent market where there will be plenty of options, though they may need to move quickly to secure one of their preferred options with other clubs likely to be in the market for bargains too.
But regardless of whether they recruit a free agent or not, they should move quickly to provide certainty in the goalkeeping department. After all, this position is a delicate one and their first-choice option would ideally have a full pre-season under his belt ahead of the new campaign.
Setting a price tag for Afolayan
Afolayan has been linked with both Fulham and Cardiff City in recent months, although it would take a hefty fee for the talisman to move on from the University of Bolton Stadium and this is why the latter may be ruled out of the race already.
However, the Cottagers will be able to afford him after sealing promotion back to the Premier League and there’s every chance Afolayan could push for a move away if he really wants to move to the top tier.
In preparation for this possible outcome, Wanderers will need to come to an agreement on what the ex-West Ham man’s price tag should be so they know what stance to take at the negotiating table.
That will allow them to get the best deal for themselves and considering the 24-year-old recorded 12 goals and seven assists in the third tier during 2021/22, it only seems like a matter of time before offers start coming in.
Deciding Santos’ future
Ricardo Santos is just as important to Bolton’s cause as their captain and they will need to decide whether they should cash in on him or not this summer, with the 26-year-old generating interest from Championship clubs.
He only has one year left on his contract but considering how integral he is to the third-tier outfit’s cause, a sale may not be coming in the next few months and there is even hope that he will sign a contract extension.
This is why it may be worth taking a risk in retaining him – but one thing is clear – and that’s the fact they need to make a decision on his future now.
If he is to leave, they need to have a new skipper in place for the start of pre-season, so having clarity on the defender’s future will be paramount to retain stability at the University of Bolton Stadium.