Kevin Davies may have been named Bolton’s player of the year and fair play to the captain, he certainly deserves it. However, ask most Bolton fans and indeed most neutrals who the Wanderers best player is and the majority will say Gary Cahill.
As a centre-half I would argue that we haven’t seen as good a defender as Cahill is since we’ve been at the Reebok. The news he might be sold is worrying, but for a club like Bolton you have to accept that your best players are going to attract attention.
There are rumours flying around at the moment about the ‘big clubs’ lining up a move for the 24-year-old. Liverpool and Arsenal are apparently set to launch bids of around £15million to secure his services, while it has also been suggested that will rise to £17million if he is selected by Fabio Capello for England’s World Cup 2010 squad – for the record I reckon he should be on the plane, but I appreciate I’m biased in that respect.
Regardless of whether or not Cahill should go to South Africa, a fee of that amount for a defender just simply couldn’t be ignored by Bolton and he could well be on the move this summer. If Gary Megson was still manager, I’d be praying the Whites could keep hold of him, but with Owen Coyle in charge I’m less concerned.
The current team is Megson’s team, there is no question of that, and I expect a lot of players to move on in the summer (indeed, Coyle has strongly hinted this will be the case). However, Cahill aside, I doubt many would command any sort of hefty transfer fee – Johan Elmander is the prime example, it seems safe to assume he will be a player Coyle will look to offload but after two disappointing years at the Reebok I doubt anyone will pay even half what Megson forked out for him in 2008.
If Coyle is to put his own stamp on the team Cahill may well have to be sold to generate the necessary funds. It would be a massive shame but we need quality players in other areas of the pitch and if the funds from Cahill’s sale were reinvested it would give Coyle a decent ‘war-chest’. He has been a great servant to Bolton since his move from Aston Villa but pretty much as soon as he made his first appearance in a white shirt you knew he was destined for bigger things (still can’t believe Martin O’Neill sold him to be honest) and it was only going to be a matter of time before a bigger club came calling. I’m just thankful it has happened now a new manager is in charge who will be able to use the funds generated from any sale to take the team in a new direction – and after some of the performances we’ve seen from Bolton this season, I don’t think anyone would argue against the fact something drastic needs to be done if we’re to avoid another relegation battle next season.
Written by Gareth Freeman, a sports writer who blogs about football, Bolton Wanderers and Irish Racing tips.