A look at Charlton’s dealings on previous transfer deadline days leaves your face emulating the one that Reece Oxford Tweeted in reaction to his loan move to the Addicks breaking down earlier in the week.
For the club’s activity in the final hours of transfer windows since the first in 2002 has often been desperate, bizarre, and occasionally insulting.
The worst of which, undoubtedly, came in January 2014. Cult hero Yann Kermorgant sold for much less than his value, and replaced by a man who had to pretend he knew how Matt Holland was in order to convince us he wanted to be in SE7. The seven-figure sum spent on Piotr Parzyszek, particularly following the sale of Kermorgant, the perfect example of this regime’s failings.
But it is not just under the stewardship of Roland Duchatelet that Charlton have made massive misjudgements on transfer deadline days. Omar Pouso’s 45 minutes of football at The Valley treasured by those who saw them, cashing in on the talismanic Andy Reid completely derailing Alan Pardew side’s chances of an immediate return to the Premier League, and Luke Holden currently finds himself playing for Northern Premier League Premier Division side Marine.
Equally as telling that the only genuine successful deadline day signings, from the 16 made, are Chris Perry and Jerome Thomas. Probably best to avoid Sky Sports News for the entire day in the knowledge that even if the Addicks do add to their squad late on, history suggests the signing will ultimately be remembered as a hilarious failure.
But it is not unfair to suggest, regardless of the additions already made this month, further signings are required in order for Jose Riga’s side to have the best possible chance of avoiding relegation. The position we’re in means settling for what we’ve got, or getting carried away with the manner of the victory against Rotherham, would be a little naïve.
So too is it naïve to suggest, despite appearing to be for the first time under Duchatelet’s reign of terror, that the squad is suitably stocked on numbers. The injuries of Ahmed Kahsi, Patrick Bauer and Alou Diarra, the uncertainty over the futures of Cristian Ceballos, Franck Moussa and Ricardo Vaz Te, and the general ineptitude of Naby Sarr, El-Hadji Ba and Roger Johnson bring it down considerably. Not to mention Rhys Williams presumably heading back to Middlesbrough.
Then there’s the inexperience, and inconsistency, at left-back with Morgan Fox fluctuating between competent and catastrophic and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis seemingly not yet deemed ready to replace him, and that there remains no adequate cover for Chris Solly on the right. Room exists for further additions.
Despite that relative weakness in the full-back positions, it’s further forward where Charlton’s priorities will lie. Tony Watt’s departure, Ricardo Vaz Te’s imminent exit, and the general lack of faith many have in Reza Ghoochannejhad leaves the Addicks a little short in attack. That particularly the case with Igor Vetokele and Ademola Lookman not boasting the most impressive fitness records.
A permanent signing of genuine quality, at this stage of the window, is unlikely, especially with clubs likely to demand inflated fees for a goalscorer. A loan, who can provide some competition and support to those we have already, is more realistic.
So too does the squad lack an advanced central midfielder. Johnnie Jackson, Jordan Cousins and Diego Poyet all excellent options, but too similar to allow Riga flexibility. Playing five in the middle, which may be needed against stronger opposition, counterproductive if the three playing centrally are more combative than creative.
The link with Serge Gnabry, though his time at West Brom suggests there may be some question marks over his attitude, is therefore promising. The Arsenal youngster providing another option out wide, probably needed despite Zakarya Bergdich’s attempts to emulate Frederic Bulot, as well being able to play in the middle.
But, of course, working out what is still needed based on what we’ve got is thrown out the window if players are allowed to leave late on. The chances of Lookman, Johann Berg Gudmundsson or any other key player departing, particularly with dead wood to remove off the wage bill first, slim, but you can never be completely reassured under this ownership.
Irrespective of what happens, at least it can’t be worse than replacing Kermorgant with Parzyszek.