The 20-year old left Crewe Alexandra this summer, leaving at the end of his contract having progressed through Alex’s famous academy.
Having graduated to the first-team at the same time as current Red Devils forward Nick Powell, United attempted to move for the England youth star in 2012, but the forward remained at Gresty Road until this summer.
A desire to leave Crewe resulted in him seeing out his playing contract, and, although on trial with the Trotters earlier this summer, a deal could not be completed with the Alex seeking a higher compensation fee for the highly-rated youngster.
A move abroad beckoned, potentially leaving the club with a lower compensation fee, but the Railwaymen relented, accepting his move to the Macron Stadium last week.
And Trotters boss Dougie Freedman was delighted to have secured the former Premier League target, although he is unlike to include him in first-team plans in the near future.
Speaking to the official Bolton website, Freedman said: "Max Clayton is a wonderful young player who I’ve been trying to sign for a number of years now. Previously, the asking price has been high. His contract at Crewe was up in the summer and we’ve been able to strike a compensation package with them.
"He’s previously been in training with us throughout the summer, which has got me licking my lips even more.
"He’s a fantastic signing for the football club. He’s an England youth international and one for the future.
"Can he help us straight away? Probably not. He’s unproven in the Championship but has all the qualities to be successful.
"He’s a very humble young man and the kind of player I like to work with. There won’t be too much pressure on him in the short term.”
Despite unlikely to feature anytime soon, Clayton is eligible for this weekend’s game at Wolves.