WANDERERS have struck an ambitious deal with data consultants Ludonautics, and two of the men behind Liverpool’s recent recruitment successes.

Confirmed by Companies House late on Wednesday night, Bolton owners Football Ventures have secured a share deal with the Essex-based firm to bring on board their expertise in a move the club hope could open new doors in the transfer market, at home and abroad, and supplement the club’s existing good work in recruitment.

A total of 189,148 B shares – i.e. ones that do not carry a vote but would return a profit in the event of a club sale – have been allotted, according to an confirmation statement of shareholders in the company.

Manager Ian Evatt (135,475) and chief executive Neil Hart (106,445) are also holders of B shares in Football Ventures (Whites) Limited.

Ludonautics was launched late last year by Ian Graham, Liverpool’s former Director of Research, who has also been joined in a non-executive director’s role by the Reds’ ex-Sporting Director Michael Edwards.

The pair played a crucial role over more than a decade at Anfield, during which time the club won their first Premier League title in 30 years, lifted the Champions League for a fifth time and appeared in two more finals.

Both stepped down at the end of 2022 and have turned down offers from the UK and abroad to concentrate on launching an advisory service. The firm is already assisting at least one Premier League club and hopes to diversify into other sports in the future.

Cambridge graduate Graham helped set up some of the first data science departments in top-flight football, working with the Premier League and Tottenham before his successful spell with Liverpool.

Edwards worked with Wanderers at the start of last season to engineer Conor Bradley and Owen Beck’s loan and has been a regular visitor to games over the last 12 months.

Ludonautics’ website gives the company’s mission statement: “At Liverpool, Ian helped transform the club's fortunes by building the Premier League's first data science department. Now he wants to help other teams do the same.

“Many teams have tried to implement a data-driven approach to player recruitment and performance analysis. Many teams have failed. Ludonautics' technical experience in developing statistical models, and practical experience making decisions using data, sets us apart.

“We are uniquely placed to give clients the opportunity to learn from the best.”