The over-all turnover in terms of faces in and out of the club since relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 06/07 season has been substantive. The clubs highest earners have all cleared off, most of them past their prime like Herman Hreidarsson, rumoured to have been on a £33’000 p/w deal which made him the most well paid ‘star’ at the club. That’s serious dinero, and even more cash than we lined Hasselbainks wallet with, though at least Herman had a case for claiming he earned his crust. Whilst Hasselbaink and Hreidarsson (along with El Karkouri, Hughes and Kishishev), left on frees, the club managed to get fees, somehow, for Dennis Rommedahl, who Ajax have decided to subject themselves too on a 4YR contract whilst giving us £675’000 in return, and Luke Young who left to join Middlesboro in a £2.5m deal. That isn’t bad considering he’s going to be a constant sick note for the rest of his career with his knees, and ‘Boro are going to need a Hell of a lot more than him to survive next season.
The big transfer news was the loss of Darren Bent to Tottenham for an estimated £16.5m, which is fantastic business for Charlton even if we have lost our best striker. I’m not convinced Darren’s worth that, though to be fair I’m not convinced ANYONE is worth such a ridiculous amount. We’ll miss him, he was one of the few things about the club that offered a glimmer of light for the last two seasons, but he leaves with the blessing of the fans who understand that a move to Tottenham offers him a chance to be at a ‘fashionable’ club that will gain him better media attention, and thus a chance to further his England ambitions. I don’t think he’s the next big thing for England, he’ll never be World Class, but he deserves a run in the first team to show what he can do.
The loss of Diawara for £2.6m to Bordeaux was a transfer that a few of us had expected, even though it caused considerable anger amongst the Charlton faithful just a week before the start of the new season. He’s either loved or hated, there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground, though the general consensus seems to be the side was better with him in it, something I’m not altogether convinced about. His alleged comments to the French media about his ‘English nightmare’ combined with his off the field activities and the transfer demands which resulted in selling him at a £1 million loss after 23 games doesn’t endear him to me much more than his half arsed performances on the field did. He was over rated, never worth the fee we were dumb enough to fork out for him, and to be honest I’m glad he’s fucked off.
Shame he couldn’t have taken the other Senegalese mug with him who, whilst I still maintain was decent for Portsmouth, is one of the worst ‘tough tackling holding midfielders’ I’ve ever seen.
Out with the old, in with the new, and the new signings that have come in look a mixed bag. There’s undoubted talent there, in particular French U 21 star Yassin Moutaouakil who looks different class as our new right full back. Chris Iwelumo, signed on a free from Colchester, looks a powerful centre forward that will cause trouble for opposition defences with his size and work rate, whilst Izale Mcleod is a brilliant signing for £1.5m; fast, good on the ball, and lethal from either inside or outside the box with his right foot. It’s going to take a while for him to settle, but he’ll be a star for us if we give him the time to adjust. The return of Chris Powell, even at the full moon of his career was a good move; we should never have let him go to begin with. The rest are more of a mixed bag.
Luke Varney is technically very solid, he has decent pace on the ball and seems to be fairly intelligent, but he’s not a natural finisher and £2.5m is a lot of bread for him. Nicky Weaver on a free was good business, and he’d be a goalkeeper of real quality if he could actually catch a ball properly. Svetoslav Todorov was well worth a look on a one year deal, and whilst early indications show he still has a sublime finish, leg injuries have affected his movement and his movement off the ball has been affected, which is a shame as he was a class act for Portsmouth. Paddy McCarthy looks an interesting signing; has all the physical attributes to be a class act for us, but his decision making looks to be dreadful. That can be improved in time. As for the rest; Jose Semedo looks alright, whilst Dean Sinclair, signed for £125’000 from Barnet looks to have a bright future. I know a few people who have connections with the North-West London side who know a lot about him, and according to them he’s absolute class. Fingers crossed.
Roll on the start of the season.