Bolton seal double swoop

Bolton manager Owen Coyle expressed his delight after completing his first two summer signings in Martin Petrov and Robbie Blake.

Bulgaria midfielder Petrov, who agreed terms with the club last week after being released by Manchester City at the end of last season, has penned a two-year deal.

“He’s someone I’ve admired for a long time because he’s a top-class player and this is a tremendous signing for the club,” Coyle told club website

“As far as I’m concerned he’s probably one of the best Bosman transfers available. To try to purchase him on the market last year then it would have cost you four or five million pounds easily.

“He has played in a Manchester City side – one which was going for the Champions League – over the last few years so that tells you the level that he’s played at. Plus he’s got a tremendous pedigree having played at major European clubs like Wolfsburg and Atletico Madrid as well.

“He can play on the left, play on the right and behind the main striker, so he has different dimensions to his play. He’s an exciting player, a creator of goals and he’s also a scorer of goals and he’s a tremendous all-round player.”

Petrov spent three years with City, scoring 12 goals in 66 appearances – a tally that surely would have been larger had injury not blighted his time in Manchester.

A knee injury prematurely ended his involvement last season and he was subsequently released by Roberto Mancini alongside fellow internationals Benjani Mwaruwari and Sylvinho.

Everton, West Ham and Aston Villa were also linked with Petrov, though Bolton’s interest always appeared the most concrete.

In 77 caps, the 31-year-old has scored 19 times for Bulgaria.

Blake, 34, has signed a one-year contract and will link up again with his former Burnley boss Coyle at the Reebok Stadium following the Clarets’ relegation from the Barclays Premier League last term.

Coyle said: “We are delighted to have signed such an experienced footballer in Robbie Blake.

“He has proven Premier League ability and adds to our striking options. He is a bubbly character who will be a great lad to have in the dressing room.

“I worked with him for two fantastic years and I am pleased to link up with him again because I know a number of clubs were interested in securing his signature.”

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