YOAN Zouma has accused Wanderers of misleading him into thinking he was going to get a contract at the club.

The French defender left the University of Bolton Stadium last week after a trial, with head coach Ian Evatt claiming he had better options within the squad.

Zouma had previously spent two years with Wanderers, and made 23 appearances in all competitions last season, but it had been suggested by the club that his unrealistic financial demands led to his release in the summer.

That version of events has been strenuously denied by the player, who says he was promised a deal last week on the basis that another first team defender was to be moved on.

The 22-year-old, brother of Chelsea and France star Kurt Zouma, is understood to be in talks with League Two rivals Barrow and wanted to put his side of the story to the Wanderers fans.

In a statement issued to The Bolton News, Zouma said: “Out of respect for Bolton and the club’s fans I never communicated about the situation, I let Bolton communicate about my situation but today I would like to set some truth back.

“My wish has always been to sign and play for Bolton. I spent two seasons at the club with my initially signed Under-23s contract. In November 2019 the club made me an offer to extend my contract, but the offer was almost similar to my current contract, we tried to negotiate but never got a response from the club.

“At the beginning of July sporting director Tobias (Phoenix) contacted my agent to find out if I was still interested in returning to the club, we said ‘yes’ and we waited for an offer that never arrived. It is important for me to say that Bolton NEVER made me an offer to return to the club.

“Recently there was a mutual will for me to return to training at Bolton, Tobias insisted as the manager wanted to see if I was in good physical shape and it was agreed that he would make me an offer when another player was gone. Last week I spoke to the manager and he confirmed to me that the club wanted to sign me that they were going to send me an offer soon.

“On Thursday I decided not to return to training because I had not received any offers from Bolton.

“When I read what was said by the club and the coach I must set the record straight and protect my image.

“I have always given my best for the club despite the hardships and injustices I have suffered.”

Wanderers have declined to comment on Zouma’s claims – but should his move to Cumbria go ahead there could be a quick reunion, with Evatt taking his side back to Holker Street on October 20.