Another January window over and done with for Wanderers, and the clearest indication yet of a changing transfer policy within the club.

Whereas previous years have felt like a retrieval exercise, be it for League Two promotion, or to better cope with the rigours of League One, the club went into the New Year relatively stress free and positioned exactly where they had planned.

For the first time Bolton’s owners were faced with the dilemma of selling one of their major playing assets, Dapo Afolayan, when German club St Pauli met their valuation.

The former West Ham winger had been pushing for a move, more out of ambition than any great unhappiness, but the fact the side had been playing so well in his absence during a three-game suspension made for an easier decision to sell than it might have been.

Replacing him in the fans’ eyes was a more difficult task.

Randell Williams was the first few signing through the door, a left wing-back who had been marginalised at Hull City but who had certainly caught the eye in his time at Exeter City a couple of seasons ago.

He pushed immediately to the front of a long queue of left-sided defenders to make his debut in a 0-0 draw against league leaders Plymouth Argyle, backing up a solid debut with another league start in the 3-0 win against Portsmouth. Two less convincing performances followed, however, and in the space of just a couple of the weeks, the order of merit has changed again.

Williams’ arrival looked to have spelled the end for Declan John at Bolton, given Owen Beck, Kieran Sadlier and Jack Iredale had all been picked ahead of him in the previous few months. But should anyone want evidence of how fast footballing fortune can change, take note.

Iredale suffered an unfortunate injury, Beck returned to Liverpool and Sadlier ended up leaving for Leyton Orient on loan, giving a revived John his first opportunity as a substitute – ahead of Williams – in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Charlton Athletic.

Dan Nlundulu arrived quickly after Williams, having turned down the chance to stay at Cheltenham Town. The Southampton striker had impressed against Bolton earlier in the season and has showed in flashes that he has the movement and physicality that could be a useful asset to Evatt’s front line.

By the manager’s own reckoning, however, he did not yet have the fitness required to play the number nine role and press defenders with the intensity that the team requires. Now recovering from a hamstring strain, he will need to start from the beginning again.

Nlundulu had effectively replaced Amadou Bakayoko, who moved to Forest Green having made a few precious memories at Bolton. Though famed for his late goals - he had failed to find regular starts this season and with his contract up in the summer, the chance of a change of scenery was too hard to resist.

Shola Shoretire was Evatt’s third signing, joining Wanderers on loan from Manchester United on the same day as Afolayan’s £500,000 move to Germany was confirmed. The mood among Bolton supporters was muted but the 18-year-old has quickly set about changing hearts and minds, dominating the game at Charlton before a back problem forced him off the field.

Last week saw the busiest day yet. Sadlier left for Leyton on loan having never managed to shake off the impact substitute tag, nor convinced Evatt that he could play a central role in his team. And Will Aimson – a dependable and experienced centre-half – was sold to Exeter City.

The latter signing left Bolton short of cover at the back but their first aim was to bolster attack and they did so by paying out £450,000 to meet the buy-out clause of Victor Adeboyejo, the Burton Albion striker who had already amassed 13 goals this season.

At 25, the exact same age as Afolayan, the two players will inevitably be compared.

His fee was the largest paid by Bolton since a £1.3million outlay for Liverpool’s Jay Spearing a decade ago, and a statement for Football Ventures to keep money invested in the playing squad.

Adeboyejo made his debut as a second-half sub at the Valley and showed a few encouraging signs, followed by a player for whom playing for Bolton seemed destined, somehow.

Cameron Jerome had been repeatedly linked with a move to Wanderers since his teenage years.

Owen Coyle once pondered his £6m price tag at Birmingham City but eventually chased Middlesbrough’s Tuncay instead. More than a decade later, and aged 36, Jerome appeared at Bolton on a free transfer from Luton, with the security of an 18-month deal.

His was the only departure from the ‘buy young’ policy the club has adopted for the players it brings in permanently – but the final signing, confirmed yesterday afternoon, was even more revealing.

Bolton’s relationship with the top clubs has improved in Evatt’s time as manager and led to deals for Conor Bradley, from Liverpool, and James Trafford, from Manchester City. And the latter club was raided again for England Under-21 defender Luke Mbete, a centre-back who had struggled to live up to his billing at Championship Huddersfield Town in the first half of the season.

Mbete arrives with a point to prove, something he has in common with so many of Evatt’s signings.

And while some may question whether building the squad around loan signings is the wisest long-term strategy, it does give Bolton access to a standard of player they would otherwise be unable to afford.

Trafford, Bradley, Shoretire, Mbete and Nlundulu have all had experience at their parent clubs and are tipped to have bright careers at a higher level. The theory appears to be at Wanderers that they will happily come along for the ride.