Updated: Jul 30, 2020
Bolton Wanderers' new signing Antoni Sarcevic has revealed the reasons why he decided to reject a new deal at League One newboys Plymouth Argyle and sign for Ian Evatt's League Two side Bolton Wanderers.
Image credit: Bolton News
Last season, Plymouth Argyle were promoted from League Two, with Sarcevic excelling for The Pilgrims, being named the club's player of the year, as well as being Plymouth's top goalscorer, an impressive feat for a centre midfielder. Bolton Wanderers, however, had a tough season in League One due to financial issues, which saw the club receive a point deduction. The North West side were eventually relegated from League One.
However, now under new ownership, Bolton Wanderers decided to dispense of their management team which consisted of Keith Hill and David Flitcroft and replace the pair with Barrow manager Ian Evatt and his assistant Peter Atherton. Bolton Wanderers' Head of Football Operations and former Macclesfield Town Director of Football Tobias Pheonix has gone on record to express his delight and being able to brought Ian Evatt to the club, stating that Evatt was Bolton's "first choice" for the managerial hotseat.
On leaving Plymouth Argyle, Antoni Sarcevic's former manager Ryan Lowe stated that the contract offer had been rejected due to the fact that Sarcevic was looking to move closer to home in the North West of England. Sarcevic, on signing for Bolton Wanderers exclaimed that moving to the club "couldn't get any better!".
Speaking to the I Had Trials Once podcast, Sarcevic could not hide his excitement at joining Bolton Wanderers stating "the move was a no-brainer, it's a Premiership club, no doubt about it". During the podcast, Sarcevic did admit that there were "a couple of clubs interested", Salford City were rumoured to be one of the clubs, however once Bolton Wanderers showed an interest and after meeting Ian Evatt at the University of Bolton Stadium, where Evatt "expressed how much he wanted him (Sarcevic)", he said "that was my decision made".
Sarcevic, a Mancunian himself, admitted he "must have driven past the Bolton ground a million times" over his lifetime, however upon signing for Bolton Wanderers and meeting Ian Evatt, he stated that "it is unbelievable" and that he couldn't wait to get started, with his personal aim to get "Bolton Wanderers back to the Championship". Sarcevic spoke of his similarities to his manager Ian Evatt, expressing that the pair are "both confident in their abilities" and both have the same aim of gaining promotion with Bolton Wanderers.
Sarcevic, 28, was a key man at Plymouth Argyle and admitted that it was a "big risk" to leave the club, especially after being held in such high regard by the supporters at Plymouth. Sarcevic said that moving to Bolton Wanderers was just a move that he could not turn down, stating it the club was "another scale again" from any club he had been at previously. Sarcevic mentioned that if he could do half of what he did at Plymouth to ensure Bolton get promoted that he would be delighted. When asked on whether Antoni Sarcevic thought making the move from Plymouth Argyle to Bolton Wanderers was a 'step back', Sarcevic disagreed stating that "the club speaks for itself".
Sarcevic admitted to Gareth Seddon and Jordan Hulme, the two hosts of the I Had Trials podcast, that his move to Bolton Wanderers would be one of his last big contracts. He expressed that he knew he was "stepping into a massive club". The Woodley Sports youngster stated "looking back on my career and saying I played for Bolton Wanderers and hopefully getting them to I know where they can get to, would make me very proud- I just can't wait to get going!"
On his ambitions for his time at Bolton Wanderers, Sarcevic proclaimed that he has "confidence in getting promotion again" and that the midfielder is confident making the move to The Trotters was the correct decision as he is "confident in his decision making and ability". When Antoni Sarcevic left Plymouth Argyle, here at The Footy Gang we picked the midfielder as the best free agent on the market and it was certainly no surprise to see clubs flocking in to sign the talented midfielder.
The Footy Gang rated Andre Gray as one of the best players to play in the Non League and then go on to play in the Premier League. Antoni Sarcevic has played previously with Andre Gray for the England 'C' team and he said that he was not surprised that Gray made the step up to the Premier League as "Gray knew he was superior to the other lads due to his pace and stature" with Sarcevic at the time, believing Gray would "easily make the step up".
If you would like to listen to the full I Had Trials Once episode with Antoni Sarcevic then please click either the Spotify or YouTube links below.
Sarcevic's discussing in detail his reasoning for signing for Bolton Wanderers as well as how his career has panned out so far, from being rejected by Manchester City, to playing for Woodley Sports (now Stockport Town) and how he very nearly retired from the sport after a disastrous spell at Shrewsbury Town.
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