What can Erhun Oztumer bring to Bolton Wanderers?
Bolton Wanderers survived relegation from the Championship last season by the skin of their teeth. Now, focusing on their next campaign, signing new players is vital. One important face that has already arrived at the club is ex-Walsall midfielder Erhun Oztumer.
Arriving on a free transfer from the Saddlers, Oztumer decided Championship football was his new path. The English-born creative midfielder has progressed over the past few seasons. Him being named in League One's PFA Team of the Year for two consecutive seasons has proved his immense capabilities. Walsall were unable to keep hold of him due to hefty contract demands, eventually, they succumbed to defeat and let him go. Bolton came in and obviously, they were able to meet his financial desires.
Oztumer started his youth career at Charlton. He also played in Turkey. The 5'3 creative playmaker featured in the Turkish fourth tier as well as the Isthmian League Premier Division with Dulwich Hamlet before signing at Walsall, Oztumer turned out for Peterborough United in League One, too. His eight-season career has been quite a journey. From playing non-league football now up to Championship level he embarks on a new quest. His 31 goals over the previous two seasons with Walsall highlights why Bolton were so keen to snap him up.
The 27-year-old has been waiting for a few years to reach the level he is now at, with Trotters manager Phil Parkinson feels as though he has snapped up a quality player for absolutely no cost (in terms of transfer fee). There is somewhat of a risk involved, though. He's never played at this level of football before...
Some Walsall fans agreed he had to move on to a bigger club but others will believe that Oztumer has a huge ego. Following his recent form, I think it's fair to say he deserves his opportunity.
Bolton only missed relegation by two points thanks to their final day home win against Nottingham Forest. Gary Madine was their top scorer with 10 goals and that is something Oztumer can contribute to next season. Not just able to score goals, the Turkish-Cypriot descendant can create plenty of scoring chances for teammates.
Being able to play a central midfield role as well as an attacking midfield position, Oztumer can weave in between the lines. He can also pick out killer passes and shoot from distance. Possessing a variety of abilities, he is a real package deal for Bolton.
For Oztumer to come in, Parkinson had to sacrifice letting go of many players. So far ten have been released. These include defenders Dorian Dervite, Jan Kirchhoff and goalkeeper Mark Howard. Midfielders let go were Karl Henry, Denik Osede, Jem Karacan, Darren Pratley and Chris Taylor. Forwards Chinedu Obasi and Aaron Wilbraham were also shown out the door.
Although Oztumer has been brought in, Parkinson will still want more players to follow suit. A major rehaul with the squad has only just started and he can hope to steer clear from Championship relegation for the 18/19 campaign. Hopefully, Oztumer can show his talent with his new teammates and provide them with the quality they desperately need. A promising player also dubbed as the "Turkish Messi" could set the Championship alight in a few months time.