By All Blue Daze
Fourteen years after he left the club for a ‘dream move’ to Chelsea – as well fame and glory under Jose Mourinho – Eidur Gudjohnsen has landed back at Bolton Wanderers. The stadium that was once the Reebok may now be labelled as the Macron, but the 36-year-old Icelandic striker will be hoping that there’ll be no need for a ‘bedding in’ process, and that the familiar surroundings will fit him like a comfortable pair of bedroom slippers.
During his time at the club between 1998 and 2000, Gudjohnsen made a total of 77 appearances – netting 27 goals. It was sufficient enough to persuade Chelsea to see him as the perfect foil for the muscular Didier Drogba – at the sharp end of Mourinho’s team. If leaving Bolton may have been a difficult decision at the time, the striker had the comforting blanket of medals at Chelsea and then at Barcelona to ease any potentially sleepless nights.
After leaving the Camp Nou however, things were less rosy. Stints at Monaco, Tottenham, Stoke and Fulham turned out to be almost nightmares, before a return to the continent saw him turn out for AEK Athens and then Cercle Brugge and Club Brugge. He was recently released by the Belgian club and will hope that a seeming sleep walk towards the end of his career may be delayed by a period back in Lancashire.
Wanderers manager Neil Lennon, will know of the latter, less successful part of the striker’s career, but clearly isn’t one to let sleeping dogs lie. Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester at a press conference he declared, “I think he’ll be a big-game player and enjoy the occasion. It will take him a little bit of time to adjust to the Championship and the quality of players he’s used to playing with… we need that type of player with Mark Davies out, and Chung Yong-Lee might not be here in January.” A potential loss of creativity clearly set the alarm bells ringing for Lennon.
In another reach back to the past, Lennon is also thought to be considering bringing his former charge at Leicester, Emile Heskey back to England. “Emile is a free agent and I know him very well from my time at Leicester – another player that we tried to sign in our time at Celtic,” he added. “He may be coming to the end of his career but he still has good attributes. We’re going to have a look at him over the next two weeks and see if he’s got something to offer.” Often less than popular with fans, Heskey may need to turn over a new leaf if he is to get Bolton supporters on his side. With the former England striker also 36, it would make any partnership between the two surely one of the oldest strike pairing in Championship history.
Bolton currently lie in the lower half of the Championship and whilst their defensive record suggests a need for more clean sheets, the move for Gudjohnsen and potentially Heskey, will be primarily aimed at increasing their goalscoring potential. Lennon will be hoping the arrival of the veterans will serve as a wake-up call for the squad to liven up after recent ‘dozy’ performances, if the club ever want to gain promotion to the Premier League. They’ll certainly want to close the yawning gap between their current position and the promotion places.
Bringing players to a club as their careers draw to a close can often be risky business. Lennon however, has made his bed with the move for Gudjohnsen. However, as it is only based on a deal until the end of the season, returning the player to English football after a period of hibernation among lesser European clubs is probably worth the gamble. For the striker, in the twilight of his career, it’s an opportunity.
Do you think Eidur Gudjohnsen can still perform in the Championship with Bolton?
Do you think a partnership of Eidur Gudjohnsen and Emile Heskey can work?
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