Before joining West Brom, Méïté spent two years with Bolton Wanderers after joining them in July 2006 from Olympique de Marseille. He had been with Marseille since 2001 and had made 172 League appearances, as well as many in European competition - including one against Bolton in January 2006.
Méïté scored two goals for Bolton: one in the 3-1 FA Cup defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday, 14 February 2007, and the other in a 1-1 draw against ZFK Rabotnicki Kometal of Macedonia, in the UEFA Cup, on 20 September the same year.
In March 2008 he was involved in controversy during Bolton's defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Manager Gary Megson blamed him for two goals that Bolton had conceded in the first half of the game (both scored by Cristiano Ronaldo), and Méïté refused to come out for the second half. He claimed he was unfit to carry on, but the Bolton medical staff confirmed that there was no injury.
Megson subsequently forced Méïté to train with the reserves, and the player was widely expected to move on from the Reebok Stadium. He never played for Bolton again; he was not selected for any of the remaining eight Premier League fixtures in the 2007-08 season. He had previously missed only twelve League games in the two years he had been at Bolton, and five of these were while he was representing Cote d'Ivoire in the African Nations Cup, in January and February 2008.
When Bolton's squad numbers for the 2008-09 season were announced, Méïté had not signed for any other club and he was assigned the number 10 shirt for Bolton. This caused further controversy as the number 10 shirt had once been worn by John McGinlay, a particular favourite of many Bolton fans in the 1990s. After Méïté's behaviour at Old Trafford, many found this a hillarious decision. As the 2008-09 season approached, Méïté was linked with Premier League newcomers West Bromwich Albion and Hull City, both of which had bids accepted by Bolton. Méïté chose to sign for West Brom on 10 August 2008 for an initial fee of £2 million, which could rise to £2.5 million depending on appearances. The contract covers three years, with a fourth year in the club's favour. Méïté made his debut in a 1–0 defeat to Arsenal in the opening game of the 2008–09 Premier League season.