Owen Coyle has warned potential suitors to make their move for Gary Cahill now, or the player will remain at Bolton Wanderers for the coming season.
Since leaving the Aston Villa bench for a regular place in the starting line-up at the Reebok Stadium, Cahill has established himself as one of the best centre-halves in the Premier League. It is little wonder, then, that the 25-year-old has been linked with a host of rival top-flight clubs in recent times.
Liverpool, who have strengthened their midfield yet little else this summer, are said to be admirers of the player, whilst Harry Redknapp would love to add more stability – Cahill has averaged over thirty league appearances a season during past three years – to his fragile Tottenham Hotspur rearguard. Andre Villas-Boas has revealed he wants to add a British centre-half to his options at Chelsea, and then there is Arsenal, who have long been considered favourites for his signature.
Coyle, though, insists that despite enquiries being made about the thrice-capped England international since the end of last season, Bolton are yet to have received a single bid for his signature. Considering all four of the above clubs would arguably be strengthened by the signing of a player who is yet to reach his peak and has his best years ahead of him, it is a little surprising that at least one hasn’t tested the water with at an opening gambit.
The Lancashire club have now supposedly imposed a deadline, which some reports claim expired at the weekend, for interested parties to get their act together and bid for Cahill or the defender will remain where he is for the coming season. Yet rather than send a warning to those sides that he would then be removed from the shop window, it is more probably a tactic which implies they are now in a position where they simply want to cash in on their prized asset, in the knowledge he is unlikely to agree fresh terms to extend his deal.
Coyle will want to avoid receiving a deadline day offer which can’t be refused, giving him little time to find a suitable replacement. But the problem with threatening to rule out a sale, and it is a sizeable one, is that the former Villa man is now inside the final twelve months of his contract. If it is inconceivable that a club such as Arsenal can take a £20million loss on Samir Nasri, who is in an identical situation at the Emirates Stadium, then how can Bolton write off a potential £15million windfall by pulling down the shop shutters on Cahill?
Maybe Coyle’s warning will do the trick and offers will soon be flooding in. Perhaps it could even spark a bidding war. On the other hand, it could also tell clubs that panic has set in at the Reebok, and this may result in bids being made which fall well short of Bolton’s valuation. One thing is for certain, Phil Gartside and co can’t afford to lose the player for nothing this time next year
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