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RUMOUR MILL: Some of the weird and wonderful Wanderers transfer tales

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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The club football has finished, pre-season lies in wait on the horizon, and the transfer gossip starts to spill from clubs up and down the land.

June is often the month where speculation runs wild and names are bandied about in the press by agents and club contacts.

But not all the transfer stories work out - so we decided to take a look at some of the best June rumours at Wanderers.

Remembering the deals that were sealed, those which fell by the wayside and the rumours that just never got off the ground, here is a look back at some of the best transfer tales which have filled The Bolton News' pages in the last two decades.

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Phil Parkinson’s arrival as manager was still the big talking point, as was the transfer embargo. The new boss had been promised restrictions would soon be removed but would have to wait just over two years before he was able to make a cash signing.

The names of potential signings had already started to drip out, with defender Mark Beevers, striker Jamie Proctor and winger Chris Taylor the first three players to be linked.

Later in the month it was also suggested that Wanderers may come after Parkinson’s former Bradford City charge, Kyel Reid.

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It was a busy time for Owen Coyle in the manager’s hotseat as he came to terms with the long-term loss of midfielder Stu Holden and looked to rebuild some of the ageing components of his side.

A striker was clearly the priority and the previous season’s loan star Daniel Sturridge was said to be top of the list. The young Englishman was available at a reported £6m, but Liverpool’s David Ngog had again caught the Scot’s eye and though he was quoted £8m the previous summer Coyle was confident he would be able to tempt the Frenchman for considerably less this time around.

Swansea City’s Darren Pratley had been strongly linked but Wanderers’ budget looked like being intrinsically linked with their ability to sell Gary Cahill at a good price. The England defender only had a year to run on his contract but had some of the Premier League’s top clubs sniffing around.

One big tabloid story suggested Cahill could go to Manchester City with Dedryck Boyata, Nedum Onuoha or Craig Bellamy used as a makeweight.

Shaun Wright-Phillips was on the manager’s radar but his big wages were a concern.

Wanderers were also credited with an interest in Dundee United’s David Goodwillie, Portsmouth’s David Nugent, Blackpool’s DJ Campbell and Reading’s Shane Long.

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Sam Allardyce let it be known that he was interested in bringing Nicolas Anelka back to England after he had encountered a difficult spell at Fenerbahce. Whispers of a club record fee were being bandied about for the Frenchman, who had previously been at Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Allardyce had been chasing Crystal Palace’s Andrew Johnson, losing out to Everton as the Merseysiders splashed out £8.6m for his services.

"The challenge is to find another Andy Johnson that fits within our budget,” said the Bolton boss, a few days before the Anelka rumours started to emerge.

If that transfer tale caused jaws to drop it was nothing compared to the 24 hours German midfielder Dietmar Hamann spent as a Bolton player.

After signing a pre-contract with Wanderers, free agent Hamann was said to have had a “change of heart” a day later and was allowed to join Manchester City.

Ex-Bolton chairman Phil Gartside boasted that his club had made £400,000 from the deal and that the paperwork had never actually gone through.

A later Premier League enquiry confirmed the transfer was all done above board but it remains the shortest stay of any Wanderers player in history.

Elsewhere, Wanderers were also being strongly linked with Udinese’s Sulley Muntari.

The 22-year-old confirmed that Bolton had been in touch after he had circulated his desire to play in England. Portsmouth would eventually tempt him over 12 months later, following a season in which he was sent off three times in 16 outings.

Another midfielder who was on Big Sam’s radar was Frenchman Ousmane Dabo.

The player’s agent, Willie McKay, confirmed that Bolton and Manchester City had been courting him since the end of the previous season – and it would be the Mancunian club who sealed the move in the end.

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Wanderers were fresh into the Premier League and though the headlines were dominated by Dean Holdsworth’s decision to sign a new two-year deal, tongues were already wagging about who else could be coming through the door.

Chief scout Jack Chapman had returned from the FIFA World Youth Championships in Argentina with a recommendation that the club established a foothold in Buenos Aries.

Goalkeeper Matt Clarke was out of contract – and Sam Allardyce had been strongly linked with Norwich City’s Bury-born stopper David Marshall, who was also available on a free.

Another big story was brewing on Wanderers’ pursuit of Newcastle United’s ex-Blackburn Rovers striker, Kevin Gallagher, who had fallen out of favour at St James’ Park under Bobby Robson.

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