Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Big Day for The Regime?

Tonight's transfer deadline could give us a clue as to how far progressed Roland Duchatelet may be with plans or intentions to sell Charlton Athletic. Having trimmed the squad of bigger salaried players and having cashed in on Gudmundson, Cousins, Harriott and Holmes-Dennis, the cherry could be the sale of Ademola Lookman.

Lookman was linked extensively with all the Premiership big boys before the season even finished but there have been no concrete signs since. It may be that none have actually stepped forward to make a firm offer or, if they have, it's fallen short of what Duchatelet will take. Desperate West Brom have been linked in recent days with talk of a £4m offer. Selling Lookman today would make the Summer transfer activity look like an asset sale to match a plan to sell. If Lookman were to go, RD would have realised something approaching £10m in transfers, quite significant when he reputedly bought the club for £14m and it would go some way to reducing the debts built up through chronic mismanagement and relegation of the club, which would obviously shorten losses on a sale. 

If Lookman is kept, however, it may suggest Duchatelet may be playing a longer game and that he may not be ready yet to admit failure. The rebuilding of the squad does support that already, to some extent, although it could be that he knows that has to be done in order to sell the club as a going concern with relative stability. It might be, of course, that there are no serious offers for Lookman but you have to think someone would have taken a risk given the money being thrown around by the Premier League clubs. What will be clear if Lookman goes, is that Meire's unique vision of Charlton being a club where supporters can have a nice day-out with some football thrown in, and the prospect of seeing some PL stars of the future would have moved a step closer. In that scenario, the player-farm at Sparrows Lane could emerge as a better place to watch football than at the Valley.

Talking of squad re-building, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis was replaced yesterday by 24 year-old Adam Chicksen in a move which itself might question Duchatelet's motives. Chicken must be on more money than THD, being a more experienced player and having made the move from MK Dons to Brighton two years ago. However, THD brought in £400,000 and someone else could be left with the difference in the wage bill. 

We are also one of a host of clubs hoping to get a loan deal for Everton youngster Liam Walsh who might be risked in our glacially-slow centre-midffield. If not, I expect someone else to pitch up to try and bolster what looks like our most obvious weakness at the moment.

Finally, we won through to the next round of the EPL Cup last night (whoopee) in front of a larger-than-expected gate of 1330-odd. I was on my way home from London as the stadium emptied last night and was told there were 260 Saints fans present which might help explain the bumper gate. It was a drab 0-0 affair by all accounts which we won 5-4 on penalties. We did at least fill the team with more inexperienced members of the squad to more closely match Southampton's U23 side. Gates elsewhere for last night's EFL fixtures were in the hundreds, which underlines just how much of a mistake the authorities have made by tinkering with the format and devaluing what was already a struggling second cup competition by inviting in U23 teams from some of the Premier League clubs. It will give them carte-blanche next season to make bigger changes.


Anonymous said...

It's the EFL Trophy Dave, not the EFL Cup! We are already out of that!

Si Jones said...

There's talk this morning of Lookman to palace, that had seriously better not happen.