Writer: Richard McCormick
Date:Wednesday June 25 2008
It seems that Bolton are closing in on the signing of Johan Elmander from Toulouse despite reported late interest from Fulham. The press haven`t mentioned Portsmouth or Celtic yet in connection with the player. Give it time.
It`s fair to say that the most Bolton fans are underwhelmed by the Swedish striker. He had a disappointing time at the Euros, being played out of position and in a team that struggled to retain possession. With limited opportunity to view the player, it`s often useful to look at the reaction from fans of the team doing the selling. Here`s what one of them had to say.
'Elmander is one of the best players I've ever seen playing. He's like a star in Toulouse, no player has been liked so much for nearly 20 years. He' s very good technically and physically as well. He's everywhere on the field, he never hesitates to tackle if he has to. His very physical way of playing makes him a perfect candidate for the Premier League.
'And he's got a quality everyone likes him for: His mentality. He never surrenders. He's plays fairly and with honour, he's grateful towards the club and his fans.`
Other supporters of Toulouse have echoed that sentiment. Elmander`s scoring record of late has been slightly better than one in three, not the much fabled twenty goal a season striker, but with so few of those around, that was always unduly optimistic.
To pay a fee in the region of £10 million seems reckless for a club like Bolton. For example, Spurs paid a similar amount a couple of seasons ago for Dimitar Berbatov, who is technically a better player, but the market has moved on since then, fuelled by a new TV deal for the Premier League. Expectations of the amounts to be paid needs to be adjusted upward.
Early season will be crucial for Bolton and Gary Megson, who has been given more money to spend than any manager in the club`s history. A good start will have a calming effect on the nerves. A repeat of last season`s debacle and the club shop will be stocking up on pitch forks. Johan Elmander will have to bear a lot of weight on those broad shoulders.
Is Elmander the right man for Bolton? Vote in the latest Vital Bolton poll.
Date:Wednesday June 25 2008
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