EPL: Bolton Wanderers Sign Swansea City's Darren Pratley to Four Year Contract

Sean BabcockCorrespondent IIJuly 1, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30:  Darren Pratley of Swansea celebrates scoring the first goal of the game during the npower Championship between Millwall v Swansea City at The Den on April 30, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The BBC has confirmed today that the Bolton Wanderers have signed Swansea City star midfielder Darren Pratley to a four-year contract, adding a renowned talent to their roster, while leaving the Swans swimming.

The signing comes at the heels of recent statements from Swansea City, particularly from Swans defender Ashley Williams, insisting that the first Welsh club in Premier League history would not change or alter their playing style against their new top-tier opponents. Such opinions were given credit when Swansea recently rejected a Newcastle United bid for defender Neil Taylor, stating simply "he has an important role to play at this club."

But if Taylor was a key player in Swansea's road to success, then Pratley was even more so, making 199 appearances for the Swans in the past five seasons and seeing them through to two promotions during his stay. It's little wonder that he caught the eye of the Welsh club's new Premier League rivals.

Following their most recent promotion in dramatic style at Wembley Stadium (a 4-2 victory over Reading in the playoff final), Pratley's contract with the Swans came to an end.  Despite their best efforts, Swansea City could not preserve the key element of their squad by persuading Pratley to stay.

"A number of clubs were interested in him and we are pleased to have secured his services," Bolton manager Owen Coyle told the BBC. "We're delighted to have Darren here."

While Pratley could be the spark Bolton need to improve on their 14th place season in 2010-11, the Swans are left wondering who in the world could fill such big shoes.