Bolton’s Gary Cahill heading to Arsenal at last...but just for one game

Arsenal v Bolton Wanderers, Premier League, Saturday September 24, 3pm

If countless newspapers, including this one, were to be believed in the summer, then Gary Cahill would be preparing to take on his former side this Saturday, rather than heading south with Bolton to try and upset the odds at the Emirates against Arsenal.

The England defender made no secret of his desire to leave the Reebok in the summer, and the club were equally keen to sell him given that he has already entered the final year of his contract.

But a clause in that deal stated that �17m was the price for which Bolton would part with their prized asset, and it was a price they stuck to as the transfer window wound down last month.

The hope that either of the Manchester clubs or Chelsea would come in for Cahill soon dwindled, and therefore so did the chances of getting that kind of fee for a player who can leave for free next June.

Arsenal were, without doubt, one of the interested parties, but they enraged Trotters’ chairman Phil Gartside with a bid believed to be in the region of �6m, which seemed to instantly scupper any hope of a deal.

Tottenham then took up the challenge, and almost landed Cahill on deadline day, but again the price was an issue for the buying club and the deal fell through.

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So Cahill is still at Bolton, and Owen Coyle never got a promised transfer kitty to spend in the remainder of the window, meaning that his side are looking a little bereft so far this season.

The arrivals of Nigel Reo-Coker, Darren Pratley, David Ngog and Coyle’s former Burnley favourites Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears have not exactly set the Reebok alight, although loan moves for Chelsea’s Gael Kakuta, Manchester City’s Dedryck Boyata and the Turkish striker Tuncay Sanli could prove more profitable.

Their season started with a bang with a 4-0 win at QPR, but four successive defeats have followed, and with 13 goals conceded, they have the second-leakiest defence behind you know who (Arsenal, for anybody who has been on a long holiday).

They have not won at Arsenal in the league since 1962, but may well fancy their chances on Saturday.