"A big thing for me" - Dapo Afolayan makes claim regarding Bolton Wanderers exit | OneFootball

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Football League World

·22 May 2023

"A big thing for me" - Dapo Afolayan makes claim regarding Bolton Wanderers exit

Article image:"A big thing for me" - Dapo Afolayan makes claim regarding Bolton Wanderers exit

Oladapo Afolayan has admitted he needed to leave Bolton Wanderers to further his football career.

The forward departed the University of Bolton Stadium in the January transfer window, joining German side St Pauli in a deal believed to be worth around £500,000.

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The 25-year-old first joined Bolton on loan from Premier League side West Ham United in February 2021.

He had a strong loan spell at the club, featuring in most games he was available for, and he helped the Trotters climb out of League Two.

That summer, his contract was coming to an end at West Ham, and he departed the London club to join Bolton on a free transfer.

He had another very good season for the Wanderers, appearing in all but two league games and scoring 12 goals in England’s third division.

This may have started to catch the eye of some teams from England and abroad, but no move was ever mentioned, and he remained at the club in that summer transfer window.

However, towards the end of last season, Bolton boss Ian Evatt decided to change his system and opt for a formation that utilised wing-backs. This meant the team shifted from having wingers to a more narrowed attack and this saw Afolayan either be used in an unnatural role or as an impact sub, neither of which suited the forward.

Dapo Afolayan on why he left Bolton Wanderers

Afolayan has revealed the formation change and subsequent reduction in game time was a key factor in his UniBol exit.

The former Bolton man also admitted that once he spoke to St Pauli manager Fabian Hurzeler at the start of the year, he knew it was best that he left and headed to a new country.

Afolayan told The Athletic: “I wanted to work with him and wanted to learn from him.

"Sometimes, things change quickly in football. The club (Bolton) and I both knew we were at a point where I could no longer progress, especially because of the way that we were playing at the time. The style changed. We didn't play with wingers and... I'm a winger.

"I could sense his (Hurzeler) excitement. I thought that maybe, at 25, coming out here was a bit too late because a lot of British players come to Germany when they're in their teens or early 20s.

"I just had a really good feeling about him. I feel that we were so similar in the way that we view football and the way we like to work. That's a big thing for me."

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