Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Friday May 27 2011
It's that time again - transfer rumour season. Over the coming months, many players will be linked with the Seasiders, few of which we'll actually be interested in, and even fewer of which will actually sign.
Here at Vital, we always like to take a look at prospective signings in our 'Scout Report' feature, and our first one this summer focuses on the first player that the Seasiders have been linked with in the media; central defender Abdoulaye Méïté (pronounced May-tay I believe).
Although he was born in France, Méïté (who is 30) is an Ivory Coast international, representing the Elephants on 48 occasions to date, scoring one goal.
He began his career at French club Red Star 93, before earning a move to Marseille.
He was a regular at Marseille, clocking up well over 100 appearances, including a start in the 2004 UEFA Cup Final, which Marseille lost 2-0 to Rafael Benitez's Valencia.
In July 2006, Méïté moved to Bolton where he was a regular until a bust-up with then Wanderers manager Gary Megson at half time during a game against Manchester United in March 2008.
As the story goes, Megson blamed Méïté for two goals that Bolton had conceded in the first forty five minutes, after which Méïté removed his boots and refused to play in the second half, citing an injury (a claim denied by Bolton's medical staff, who passed him fit to play).
This incident is not an isolated one either; Méïté is also reported to have got in training ground bust-ups with Bolton colleague Gary Speed and international teammate Saloman Kalou.
Following the Old Trafford incident, Méïté did not feature for Bolton again and was exiled from the squad by the club, being forced to train seperately from the first team.
That summer, both West Brom and Hull City had offers accepted for the transfer listed defender, with Méïté electing to sign for the Baggies for a fee in the region of £2.5 million on a three year deal, with the option of a fourth year.
He was restricted to just 18 appearances in his first season at the club due to injury problems, and struggled to break into the side in his second season under new manager Roberto Di Matteo, making just 20 appearances as the Baggies went on to win promotion from the Championship.
Upon promotion, Méïté found himself on the sidelines again as the Baggies returned to the Premier League, and was restricted to token appearances in the League Cup.
However, the appointment of Roy Hodgson as West Brom manager following Di Matteo's sacking saw Méïté surprisingly return to the fold, and the defender played a big part in securing the Baggies safety alongside fellow centre half Jonas Olsson.
Despite this, WBA elected not to take up their one year option on Méïté's contract earlier this week and released him, having already signed Ipswich centre half Gareth McAuley on a free transfer to replace him.
Méïté is not the tallest of centre halves, coming in at 6ft 1in, but he does have a decent spring on him and is good in the air.
He's also good positionally, using his pace and strength to his advantage.
However, he is prone to costly gaffes, and recently scored an own goal against Aston Villa, before making an error just one week later that led to the Baggies conceding a goal against Wolves.
Although West Brom's defence has been as generous as ours in recent times, whenever Méïté played, they did look a lot more solid.
One potential obstacle to any deal however could be wages; Méïté was known to be on decent money at The Hawthorns and could be chasing one last big payday. With a centre half presumably not too high up 'Pool manager Ian Holloway's list of targets, could the money be better spent on other positions?
It should also be noted that should the Seasiders sign him, then he could miss around a month of the season in the new year if selected for the African Nations Cup.
We'll be back throughout the summer to preview potential signings, but in the meantime, keep it Vital for all your BFC news and views.
Date:Friday May 27 2011
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