Bolton Wanderers centre back Ricardo Santos has told The Bolton News that he will put in a good word to Declan John and Dapo Afolayan as he attempts to convince the pair to come back to the club next season.
The duo spent the campaign on loan from Swansea City and West Ham United respectively and both played important roles in helping the Trotters to achieve an immediate return to Sky Bet League One as they secured automatic promotion on the final day away at Crawley Town.
Both John and Afolayan are now set to return to their parent clubs this summer, with their long term futures seemingly up in the air as they go in search of regular game time.
And it’s fair to say that Santos hasn’t given up hope of playing alongside the duo at the University of Bolton Stadium next season, with defender stating the following:
“I want to see them back here in pre-season.
“And I see no reason why they wouldn’t want to come back, the club speaks for itself.
“It’s a big place, we’re promoted, on a high, and they were a big part of it.
“The gaffer wants them to come back in and the boys certainly do as well, so if I have to make a couple of phone calls, I’ll tell them.
“I have said a few times when I have done interviews about the bond in the team – and it really is great. I am not just saying it, the boys really are close.
What club do these 21 former Bolton Wanderers players ply their trade at now?
“Dec and Dapo came in and helped really kick us on in January, that was a big month for us with the quality that came in. Why wouldn’t you enjoy playing for Bolton Wanderers when things are going well like that?”
Both players arrived at the club in January and helped to turn the tide for Wanderers under Ian Evatt as a dramatic improvement in the team’s form saw them rise up the league standings and into promotion contention.
I firmly believe that both players would love to come back to Bolton next season, but for me the most likely to do so is John, as he seems to have little chance of having a future at Swansea.
Afolayan is the younger of the two players and that could play into his hands at West Ham as they may be more more keen to offer him a deal after his form on loan for the Trotters.
Whatever happens for the duo, they need to be playing regularly at the respective stages of their careers and therefore a move to Wanderers would surely appeal to them.
Evatt and co will push hard to get the deals over the line and I think they have every chance of doing just that over the next few months.