DAPO Afolayan has completed his move to Bundesliga 2 club St Pauli, Wanderers have confirmed this morning.

The popular forward had been with Bolton for two years and though the fee has officially been declared as undisclosed, sources in Germany claim the final fee to be worth £500,000.

St Pauli had at least two previous bids turned down for the 25-year-old, who had 18 months left on his contract and had signalled his desire to play at a higher level.

Interest from elsewhere in England failed to meet Bolton’s valuation, and it is also understood that a rival League One club also offered to loan Afolayan for the rest of the season.

The sale of Afolayan has divided opinion among Wanderers fans, given he was last season’s top scorer with 14 goals, and the reigning Player of the Year.

But his first team opportunities became less frequent this season after a change in formation, and he was unable to play in his favoured wide left position in attack.

Afolayan featured as a centre forward, number 10 and even briefly as a left wing-back as manager Ian Evatt looked to find him a role.

Before the winter break St Pauli had rarely deviated from a front two in their first 17 games but four January signings could offer their head coach, Fabian Hürzeler, different options as he looks to guide the Hamburg-based club away from the relegation zone.

Afolayan has played abroad before, starting out in Canada as a teenager and training alongside the likes of Jermaine Defoe and Jozy Altidore at Toronto FC before returning to England to study.

Having started as a youth teamer at Chelsea, he moved through the non-league ranks and found success with Solihull Moors, catching the eye of West Ham United’s scouts.

After loan moves with Oldham Athletic and Mansfield Town he signed for Wanderers in January 2021 as part of a cluster of new arrivals which would transform the season, culminating in a last-day promotion at Crawley in which Afolayan scored his first goal for the club.

Evatt was able to sign him on a free transfer the following summer and the 2021/22 campaign in League One proved his most successful to date. He scored nine times in his first 19 games in all competitions and was linked with moves to Fulham and Cardiff City.

The Bolton News:

After winning the top prize at Bolton’s end-of-season awards Afolayan was again in the headlines, reportedly being eyed up by Rangers as a replacement for Ryan Kent.

No bids were forthcoming and though Afolayan was open to the idea of moving on from Bolton, the feeling was crystalised this season when he started just 10 of the first 20 games in all competitions.

Wanderers have remained competitive in League One and reached the final of the Papa Johns Trophy, in which Afolayan has added six goals across the board.

He was denied a chance to say a proper farewell by a three-game suspension imposed by the Football Association on New Year’s Eve for an elbow on Lincoln City’s Lasse Sorensen, which was not picked up by the match official at the time, but later reported by the opposition.