Opinion: A shock but how Antoni Sarcevic's Bolton Wanderers departure might benefit all parties

Asia's Tech News Daily

The news was confirmed around 2pm on Friday afternoon and was a real bolt out of the blue.

Bolton Wanderers skipper Antoni Sarcevic had left the League One side to drop down two divisions and sign a deal with National League outfit Stockport County.

Reports had first emerged earlier on that day and seemed to gather momentum as the day wore on that Sarcevic’s departure was close.

The shock from the Wanderers fanbase has been clear for all to see that the club captain has moved on to pastures new.

Whatever the reasons and motives behind Sarcevic leaving the club, it has come as a shock which few would have seen coming this time yesterday.

Sarcevic had started every single League One game so far this season, except for Tuesday evening’s loss on the road to his old club Plymouth Argyle.

Evatt had previously said the midfielder has been struggling with an ankle injury, so while a big call to put the skipper on the bench against the Pligrims, it was perhaps not a surprise to see him dropped if one bears in mind that injury.

The Bolton boss made it clear that the camp was in good shape heading into tomorrow’s game against Gillingham when he spoke to the press on Thursday afternoon.

Midfielder MJ Williams had also described Sarcevic as a ‘top lad’ and was ‘fine’ despite having to make do with a place on the bench against the Pilgrims.

Whatever the reasons behind his departure, the fact is Sarcevic is no longer a Bolton player and Wanderers must focus as best as they can on the League One clash against Gillingham tomorrow and the rest of the season.

The clash at the University of Bolton Stadium is a big one for Wanderers and three points would be most welcome after three successive losses in the division, though Bolton are still 11th in the table and four points from the play-offs as things stand.

Though hardly ideal preparation for the encounter, it is a subject which Wanderers boss Evatt will no doubt be asked about following tomorrow’s clash and he may well speak more on the topic and give answers to questions which supporters of the club understandably have.

But stepping back from the timing and shock of the decision, and looking at the potential positives, it could be a move which ends up benefitting all parties, in time.

Sarcevic’s deal at Wanderers was poised to come to an end next summer and talks had not started over a fresh one.

The midfielder has signed a deal at Edgeley Park which will keep him at the Hatters until the summer of 2024 and the security of having his future sorted and playing for a club with aspirations of becoming an EFL team once more may well have been attractions of moving to pastures new.

From a Wanderers perspective, though losing a player of Sarcevic’s experience and ability is undoubtedly far from ideal, if there was one area of the squad when a departure could be afforded, central midfield is probably the area.

Evatt has Williams, Kieran Lee, Josh Sheehan, George Thomason and the injured Andrew Tutte at his disposal in that area, while Brandon Comley is not in the club’s EFL squad and might now have a chance to come back in given a space has opene up.

Sarcevic’s departure could give Evatt the chance to play Williams, Lee or Sheehan together more often, or bring Thomason in for further minutes which he has lacked this season.

Sarcevic no longer being on the club’s books also frees a space in the playing squad and a part of the club’s payroll to bring in further reinforcements in the transfer window, as Evatt has highlighted.

There is still more than two months of the campaign and a lot of football to be played before the transfer window opens and time will tell what impact Sarcevic leaving might have on Wanderers’ season.

But should the stars align, then it could ultimately prove to be one which is right for all parties.

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