Bolton seal 23m David Wheater deal

Bolton have completed their £2.3million swoop to sign Middlesbrough defender David Wheater.

The highly-rated centre back was available at the bargain price with his contract due to expire at the end of the season.

A further £1.5m is understood to be due based on appearances.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle wasted not time in bringing him to the Reebok Stadium on a three-and-a-half year deal, beating off competition from Everton, Stoke and Wolves.

Wheater said: 'I met with the manager and we had a good chat about football. I had a look around the facilities and it was a really easy decision to make.

'From what I've seen there is a really great atmosphere at the club and a real buzz about the place and I'm looking forward to working hard and showing the manager what I can do.'

Coyle said: 'First and foremost we are absolutely delighted to get a player of David's quality into Bolton. The hunger that he has shown in wanting to come to the football club has been first class. There has been a lot of competition for his signature and again this shows a willingness on our behalf to invest in young players.

'The club have parted with good money to secure the services of a very talented player who has been involved with England squads before.

'We want him to be involved at that level again and to do that he will have to play well for Bolton Wanderers, however he has arrived here with a real desire to achieve that. He has a great character as well. He will integrate into the group straight away and it all adds to the fantastic spirit that we have within the squad."

Coyle is also facing a battle to hold onto Gary Cahill, a target for Arsenal and Manchester United, and he will insist the addition of Wheater is not an indication that Cahill's departure is imminent.

Wheater, 23, is yet to win his first England cap despite being called up for the squad on a number of occasions. He has plenty of Premier League experience with Middlesbrough before they were relegated in 2009.

Big plans: Bolton hopes to partner Wheater with Gary Cahill at the heart of their defence

He could make his debut against Chelsea on Monday night after arriving at the club's Euxton training complex on Thursday morning. Coyle was keen to bolster his defence afterselling Andy O'Brien to Leeds.

New Boro boss Tony Mowbray, himself a former Boro skipper and son of Redcar, was hoping to build his side around Wheater and secure a new deal when he took over from Gordon Strachan.

But Boro and Mowbray were resigned to losing their former academy graduate thanks to their unexpected fight against relegation, which forced Strachan out at the end of last year. Mowbray appointed Wheater's close friend Matthew Bates as the club's new captain last month.

Wheater follows the likes of Stewart Downing, Adam Johnson, Chris Brunt, James Morrison and Ross Turnbull out of Middlesbrough. They have all come through Dave Parnaby's academy and left Boro for combined fees of almost £20m.

Andrew Davies, another former Boro junior, who is now at Stoke, is the first target for Mowbray after he lost out on Swindon defender Sean Morrison, who joined Reading earlier this week. West Bromwich's Abdoulaye Meite is another possible target.

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Source: Daily Mail