9th September 2028
Woah! It’s September already?? Well, I reasoned that if I’m not going to lift my skirt to show you all my transfers until September anyway, we may as well start here. I want to streamline these episodes a bit, now that we aren’t going for promotions or anything exciting like that. With that in mind, look at all this dosh wot we got.
Yes, we’ve let 7 players leave permanently. We started off shipping young non-prospect Alan Dawson to Middlesbrough for £1M (+50%), then he was followed out of the door by Poley Goalie Wojciech Pacholarz, the Scandi Target man-di Jacob Hansen… The attacker from EurAfrica Victor Joseph… I’m abandoning this bit. Basically we sold some squad players and then we sold some first team players, namely Jean Guillaume, Ivan Vázquez and Steve Lyons, all for major profit. At £40M, Lyons is actually our new record sale, breaking the record we set a few seasons ago by selling N’Dri for £30M. As well as the usual hoard of kids I’ve sent out on loan, Diego Mezzano has gone to Serie A for the season as we had too many right wing backs. Let’s have a look at the incomings.
No 19 – Nemanja Arcaba – Striker – £5.75M from Crvena Zvezda
Over the last 3 seasons in the Serbian top tier, 30 goals and 23 assists in 107 games, ave ratings 6.94-7.27, 2.09-2.29 dribbles per game
I mentioned Arcaba at the end of last season. He’s been brought in as a replacement/upgrade on Jacob Hansen.
No 14 – Diego Hipólito – Centre Back – £15.75M from Santos (Brazil)
Over 3 seasons as a first teamer for Santos, ave ratings 7-7.22, 5 assists per year, 4-4.26 tackles per game, 77%-82% pass completion
I never replaced Burrows or Kerr last season, so I’ve done it now. Hipólito comes in to compete for the starting centre back spots, but he could also maybe fill in at right wing back if needed. I doubt I’ll use him there.
No 13 – Wesley – Goalkeeper – £17M from Corinthians
Over 2 seasons as a first team player, ave ratings 6.93-6.94, conceded 33 in 46, keeping 24 clean sheets
This seems to happen every time I buy a new keeper nowadays. I wanted Wesley to come in and compete with Guillaume after Pacholarz’ departure, but then I ended up selling Guillaume too, so Wesley’s our first choice. Not ideal, considering he can’t speak English, but he should at least stop plenty of shots and he’s got room to grow.
No 18 – Eric de la Tejera – Attacking Midfielder – £7.75M from Club León
Over 3 seasons as a first team player, ave ratings 6.88-7.02, 20 goals and 17 assists in 123 appearances, 1.27-1.89 dribbles per game
I’ve been watching Eric for a while. This has happened quite a lot in this save because of the “obscure” sort of signings I’ve been trying to make. You end up spending a hell of a lot of time waiting for players to make enough appearances for their country that they’ll be able to get a work permit and sign for you. 9 caps later, we’ve recruited the hottest young talent in Mexico and he looks brilliant.
No 24 – Josh Symes-Hook – Goalkeeper – £1M from Southampton
Only played 12 Premier League matches and no loans since coming through at Southampton
Not my finest moneyball signing. I’ll admit, we had nothing to go on when we signed Josh, but options were thin on the ground and I needed a backup keeper. He looks decent enough and for just £1M, there’s no risk in this one, really.
My goalies, as I’ve said are Wesley and Symes-Hook, with the stalwart Vickers backing them up. As he’s entering his 10th season with the Trotters, Vickers will be due a testimonial next Summer! How time flies.
We’ve got 5 really good quality defenders here. What I like about this squad is that everyone’s so versatile that I don’t need any more than that. In a crisis, we can bring Hallgren or Maciel back to deputise.
At right wing back, these 2 are very solid in the absence of Mezzano, who I’ve sent to Benevento in Serie A to get minutes after that horrible cruciate ligament injury. Manning can also help out here in a pinch.
I’m less happy with our options at left back as both Centelles and Duda are very average, but they’ll certainly do for this season.
I’m very happy with our midfield. Coulibaly is arguably my best signing over the course of this save as he’s such a rock for us in the middle. Maciel, Manning and Hallgren are all good, versatile options and we can also deploy the likes of Kana, Duda, de la Tejera, Nmecha, Perez and Boussaada here if we need to. Seriously, this squad’s so tremendously versatile.
Our attacking midfield options are solid here. I wasn’t comfortable last year having Lyons and Nmecha together when neither of them were playing particularly well.
Up front is where the money is. Amat is our crown jewel and my mouth is watering at the prospect of he and Arcaba linking up together. If they hit it off, we could really hammer a few teams. Perez and Boussaada are really bankable backup options.
The season’s started well. After draws which sparked opposite emotions away at Manchester United and at home against Swansea, Carles Amat got off the mark with a hat trick again, because apparently that’s his thing now. Arcaba also got his first goal off the bench as we cruised past Brighton. We then brushed off Rochdale in the Carabao Cup, got beaten by a 93rd minute West Brom winner and edged past Everton. We’re left in 8th place after 5 games, which I’ve got to be happy with, really.
And speaking of the league, we’re predicted to actually stay in it comfortably, which makes a nice change! Look at us being all established in the Premier League.
3rd February 2029
Not! Too! Shabbyyyy!
We’ve had a little bit of everything so far this season. The first month or so we had a really mixed bag that had us vying for Europe, then we had a 7 match winless streak from September to December that left us down near the relegation zone, but since that run ended we’ve only lost once in 14 games, while we’ve won 9. So we’re back up hovering around midtable, which seems about right for us this season. We’re certainly having tougher draws in the cups this year though – We were seen off by Spurs in the Carabao Cup 4th round and we’ve just scraped past Everton in extra time of the FA Cup 4th round replay, thanks to a Nemanja Arcaba goal just before half time.
Transfer-wise, we’ve had a little dabble this window, sparked by Marcin Duda’s £33M move to Chongqing Dangdai, which came out of the blue. There’s no chance he’s worth that, so I’m laughing all the way to the bank. In his place, I’ve signed Biel Flores. He’s an upgrade, if anything.
No 25 – Biel Flores – Left Wing Back – £8.5M from Barcelona
Over the last 18 months in Spain’s 2nd tier, ave ratings 6.82-7.02, 4 assists per season, 0.99-2.91 tackles per game, 0.99-1.01 dribbles per game
Biel’s a bit raw and hasn’t been tested in a league comparable to the Premier League yet, but I’ve got faith he’ll come good. He’s got loads of potential and the only thing he can’t do is challenge for headers, which isn’t really the wingbacks’ primary goal anyway.
Even though the Premier League transfer window’s closed, we’re on the verge of letting another player go abroad – Saúl Pérez has had 2 and a half good years here, but Spartak Moscow want to give me up to £14M for him and I want to let them. In anticipation of the move, I’ve brought Mezzano back from Italy.
So if and when that deal does go through, we’ll have made over £100M profit from transfers over the course of this season, which is just mind-boggling. Money is trivial to a club like Bolton Wanderers now, as our bank balance approaches a quarter of a billion pounds.
Like I say, not too shabby, eh?
12th May 2029
And so ends the story of League 2 to Europe in 10 years. Just kidding, we’re not done yet. Blimey though, whoever stuck a quid on West Ham, Bolton and Sheffield United making the top 7 deserves their winnings.
The second half of the season’s been delightfully straightforward – We’ve been on another brilliant cup run, which ended in the Semi Final as Liverpool scraped past us. We’ve also done the job in the league though, picking up 18 points from our last 11 games. We did end a little bit shakily, getting hammered by West Brom, drawing with Brighton and losing to City, but then an excellent thrashing of the Toffees (Our 3rd win against them this season) cemented our place in next year’s Europa League.
Carles Amat has had a tremendous season, scoring 23 goals and setting up another 5 in 43 appearances. This is a blessing and a curse, as Manchester United and Arsenal are now prowling and I’ll be surprised if he’s still here by the start of next season. Arcaba and de la Tejera also ended up with solid enough tallies for the debut seasons.
There were no major standouts in terms of assists, but Prucha, Nmecha and Centelles all did well. Special shoutout to Flores too, who set up 5 goals despite only being here for the 2nd half of the season.
It’s no surprise at all that Amat was our player of the season. Again, shoutout to Flores though. What a start he’s made. Federico Machado just missed out on the top 5 after missing the last 6 months of the season with a fractured upper leg.
Sadly, I had to let Josh Vickers go in February. He was kicking off about me not finding him a move in the January window, so I just cancelled his contract. He so nearly made it to a testimonial.
I don’t think I’ll sign another keeper though. Andrew and Jenkins are both just about good enough to be around the squad now. In fact, I don’t know where we’ll buy this Summer at all. No doubt we’ll need another world-beating, talismanic striker. Maybe I’ll actually abandon moneyball for once and go big for one if Amat leaves in this £78M deal that the papers won’t shut the fuck up about.
Actually, I almost forgot to say – I have actually already signed a striker. Again.
Kevin Ellis – Striker – £2.2M from AaB
Over last 3 seasons in Danish Superliga, ave ratings 6.79-7.26, 33 goals scored in 86 appearances, 2.42-2.82 dribbles per game
Young Danish Welshman Kevin is nowhere near a replacement for Amat though – My plan is to loan him out and maybe sell him on for profit after a year or two. Still, he’s worth mentioning. His goalscoring record is actually really good, I just don’t think he’s going to be good enough for where we’re heading.
Right, that’s me done for another season. If you’re reading this, thanks for sticking with me through 10 years at Bolton Wanderers. We’ve still got a bit of time to kill before the stadium move, so I’ll see you bright and early next Friday for the 29/30 season!