Grass is not always greener for Wanderers strikers when they leave the Whites
DAVID Ngog is on the lookout for a new club after his move to Swansea City did not pan out as planned – but life after Wanderers can be a tricky prospect for the modern day striker.
The grass, as they say, is not always greener on the other side, as a handful of former Bolton front men have found out to their cost.
We looked at nine different strikers who have been permanent members of the Whites squad since 2006 and how their career has fared since they left the club.
The list does not include loan strikers such as Daniel Sturridge, Lukas Jutkiewicz or Ariza Makakula (remember him) and only those who have played senior football.
NICOLAS ANELKA Before Wanderers: Arsenal snatched Anelka from Paris St Germain as a teenager, maturing him to a £22.3million asset moved on to Real Madrid. He moved back to Paris for £22m and then back to England with Liverpool on loan, then Manchester City for £13m. A mixed spell in Turkey with Fenerbahce opened the door for Bolton to make a shock £8m move for him in 2006.
How he fared: A thoroughbred – though one always likely to be passing through at Wanderers. He scored 23 goals in 61 games before moving on for a massive £15m to Chelsea in January 2008.
Post Wanderers: Helped Chelsea to a Premier League title, two FA Cups and a Community Shield but his career drifted from there – a spell in China as player-coach of Shanghai Shenua failed, as did a brief move to Juventus – albeit in a title-winning side. He came back to England to play at West Brom but left after playing just nine games when a controversial goal celebration saw him sacked at the Hawthorns for gross misconduct.
Success: 4/5 KEVIN DAVIES Before Wanderers: Davies burst on to the scene at Chesterfield before moving to Southampton. He impressed Roy Hodgson enough to pay a club record £7.5million for him at Blackburn in 1998 – but his time at Ewood proved tough. A less-successful second spell at Southampton and a loan at Millwall followed before he was released, prompting Sam Allardyce to invite him on a pre-season tour of Malta in 2003.
How he fared: Well, he didn’t prove a bad signing. Snapped up on a free transfer with his career in limbo, Super Kev found his spiritual home at Bolton and provided the spearhead of the club’s attack for the next decade, gaining legendary status with the fans.
Post Wanderers: After making a tearful goodbye at the end of the 2012/13 season, Davies signed a two-year deal with Preston North End – but he was not able to lead the Lillywhites back to the Championship and set up a reunion with Wanderers next season. Preston were knocked out of the play-offs by Rotherham, losing their semi-final 4-2 on aggregate.
Success (to date): 3/5 IVAN KLASNIC Before Wanderers: German-born Croatia international Klasnic forged a fearsome scoring record with St Pauli and Werder Bremen before a double kidney transplant briefly stalled his career. After playing at the World Cup he moved on to France with Nantes. Relegation led to a loan-spell at Wanderers, which was made permanent in 2010.
How he fared: Lethal when given the opportunity – but the striker’s fitness was often called into question. He scored 24 goals for the Whites in three seasons, making 50 of his 94 appearances from the bench before being released when the club dropped into the Championship.
Post Wanderers: Things have not worked out well for Klasnic, who moved back to Germany for a brief spell at Mainz. He is now working as a consultant in the Bundesliga but looking for a new club.
Success: 1/5 JOHAN ELMANDER Before Wanderers: Elmander was highly rated on the continent before arriving at Wanderers for a club record £8.2million. He was a proven Sweden international after spells at Feyenoord, Brondby and Toulouse, prompting Gary Megson to splash the cash.
How he fared: While Elmander never scored the goals expected of him at Wanderers, his input in his three seasons is often overlooked. Ultimately, he will be remembered as the club record signing that cost around £15million, with wages, that left for nothing in the summer of 2011. His record stood at 108 appearances and 22 goals.
Post Wanderers: Elmander was offered a massive contract at Galatasaray and remains registered to the Turkish club. He was a regular for two seasons before moving back to England for a loan spell with Norwich City that garnered just three goals in 33 outings as the Canaries were relegated.
Success: 2/5 MUSTAPHA RIGA Before Wanderers: Ghana-born Riga was feted as a future star in Dutch football when he broke through at Vittese and Sparta Rotterdam. He moved on to Spain, enjoying more success with Levante before cash problems at the club prompted Gary Megson to snap him up in 2008 as a replacement for the outgoing El-Hadji Diouf.
How he fared: Riga stared just three games in two-and-a-half years at Wanderers, making a further 19 appearances as a substitute. Though popular with the supporters, the pacy front man failed to find the net once and had his contract terminated in January 2011.
Post Wanderers: Riga spent a short time playing back in Spain with Cartagena but then spent 18 months in the wilderness before popping back up in Indian football for Pune FC, where he plays to this day.
Success: 1/5 HEIDAR HELGUSON Before Wanderers: Moving to England from Norwegian club Lillestrom, the Iceland international had carved out a good reputation at Watford before moving on to Fulham in 2005. He scored 11 goals in 57 appearances at Craven Cottage – and his renowned work-rate convinced Sammy Lee to pay £1million for his services soon after taking over from Sam Allardyce.
How he fared: A knee injury wrecked Helguson’s time at the Reebok, restricting him to just 10 appearances in two seasons at the club. He made little impact during his time at Bolton and was released by Gary Megson in 2009.
Post Wanderers: Championship specialist Helguson battled back to become a regular starter again in the second tier, making a loan move to QPR permanent in 2009 and then enjoying a second spell at Watford and helping Cardiff City into the Premier League.
He returned to Iceland in 2013 to start coaching and playing semi-professionally.
Success: 3/5 EL-HADJI DIOUF Before Wanderers: The flamboyant Senegal international burst on to the scene at the 2002 World Cup and earned a £10million move to Liverpool from Lens. Despite early promise, he quickly bombed at Anfield – earning scathing criticism from team-mate Jamie Carragher - and was loaned out to Wanderers, where his career was re-launched. The move was eventually turned permanent by Sam Allardyce for what was a club record £4.5million.
How he fared: Diouf scaled heights and plumbed depths in his time at the Reebok. He scored the club’s first-ever European goal against Lokomotiv Plovdiv and became a cult hero on the terraces – but his antics were not always praiseworthy. Diouf had the book thrown at him for spitting at an 11-year-old Middlesbrough fan, and then later at Portsmouth defender Arjan De Zeeuw.
Post Wanderers: Diouf upped sticks to move to Sunderland for £2.6million but failed to score in 16 league games for the Wearsiders. He had more success in two years at Blackburn, re-uniting briefly with Sam Allardyce, but then moved on to Doncaster Rovers via a short spell in Scotland at Rangers. He has spent the last two years at Leeds United, making 52 appearances and scoring seven goals, but was used sparingly last season.
Success: 2/5 RICARDO VAZ TE Before Wanderers: Vaz Te played in the same junior team as Manchester United winger Nani, also featuring for Sporting Lisbon’s youth side before moving to England with Wanderers in 2003 as a 16 year old.
How he fared: Whilst tipped for greatness, Vaz Te remained a rather unfulfilled potential in his time at the Reebok, experiencing some bad luck with injuries. Starting only 19 times in seven seasons, he made a further 69 appearances from the bench. The Portuguese striker will be best known for scoring an equaliser against a club from his homeland, Vitória de Guimarães, in a UEFA Cup tie in 2005.
Post Wanderers: After a brief spell in the SPL with Hibernian, Vaz Te came back to England to star for Barnsley, scoring 12 times in 24 games. He got Sam Allardyce’s attention again, earning a move to West Ham and helping the Hammers back into the Premier League. His chances have been limited in the last 12 months, though, and he submitted a transfer request earlier this season.
Success: 3/5 TEMITOPE OBADEYI Before Wanderers: Obadeyi was an acclaimed England youth international who played alongside Daniel Sturridge in his school years before moving through the ranks at Coventry City. The Birmingham-born front man was snapped up for £50,000 and moved into the Wanderers reserves.
How he fared: Gary Megson gave Obadeyi his debut off the bench in a home defeat to Wigan in December 2008 and then in successive weeks against Arsenal and Manchester United. But despite spending considerable time out on loan at Swindon, Rochdale, Shrewsbury and Chesterfield – and surprisingly earning another 12 month deal in 2011 under Owen Coyle – Obadeyi was released without featuring again.
Post Wanderers: No-one expected Obadeyi’s next career move, which took him to Portugal playing for Rio Ave in the Super Liga. He spent just under 12 months abroad before moving back to play for local rivals Bury. He featured only a handful of times for the Shakers before being released at the end of the season.