Prince-Desir Gouano may not have been a familiar face when he signed for Bolton in early August, however his early performances have seen him become a fan favourite during his short time at the Macron Stadium to date.
Arriving in the North West as somewhat of an unknown quantity, Prince has subsequently put in man of the match displays against Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers, as his Bolton career continues to take shape.
The 21-year-old French defender signed a season-long loan deal from Italian side Atalanta, and has swiftly become a Wanderers mainstay in the starting eleven, following some sterling outings in his early career.
Gouano was somewhat of an emergency acquisition to Bolton’s ranks, after Derik Osede and David Wheater both picked up injuries prior to the start of the Championship season – as Neil Lennon plucked the defender from continental Europe.
Having been loaned over the European footballing landscape over recent years, Prince swapped Italy in favour of a year-long stay in the North West, in a loan transfer which could yet be fruitful for both player and club.
His debut against Derby would see him thrown into English football at the deep end, something that he dealt with well, becoming a first-team regular from then on.
Since the opening day of the season, Prince has featured in all five of Bolton’s league games to date, forging his way into the hearts of Bolton supporters’ in recent weeks.
Gouano can play across the defensive line too, something that could prove vital for Wanderers, following on from the departure of American international Tim Ream, who recently signed a deal to move to Fulham last month.
Despite the worrying start made by the Trotters, Gouano has become a calming influence upon his team-mates, forging successful partnerships with fellow centre-back, and compatriot, Dorian Dervite.
However, following Dervite’s red card in the closing stages away at Rovers, Gouano will need to learn the game of a fellow centre-half, for the home fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers in two-weeks.
His old head on young shoulders proved vital in the encounter against Blackburn Rovers, thwarting the Rovers forward line, as Bolton gained a point in Friday’s night’s derby at Ewood Park.
For some time now, since the departure of Gay Cahill three-years ago, Bolton have lacked defensive stability on a regular basis, but Prince could bring that stability back – and could lead Bolton from the back over the course of the next nine months.
Bolton’s financial plight over recent years has been well documented, leaving the club on their knees, and Wanderers have subsequently had to rely upon loan and free-transfers in this current window, with the early signings suggesting that the Prince move could be a genius deal by Lennon.
But hopefully, some sort of permanent deal will be done for Prince, which could solve the defensive problems on a long-term basis.
Prince may have come to Bolton unknown, but if he continues his current form, the defender could become the king of Bolton’s current squad.