Monday, February 13, 2006

Bent: The £12million Question

During a season which could serve as a definition for 'inconsistent', there has been one near-constant bright spot, namely the finishing and all-round forward play of Darren Bent. To have scored 16 goals for an average side, many of them whilst playing as a lone forward, is a phenomenal early dividend on a bargain £2.5m investment. Moreover, I suspect we haven't even seen the best of him yet by any means.

Unfortunately however, the realisation that we potentially have a world-class striker on our books, and certainly the best player to have worn the Charlton shirt since Scott Parker, suggests we may before too long be facing the inevitable question, "If a club bid X million for him, would we accept it?"

Bent seems a level-headed type and he will be well-aware of the way Parker's career went sideways for two years before he arrived in Newcastle. Moreover, the selfish actions of the spotty one left the club with little option but to allow him to move for a fee which with hindsight, was perfectly fair. It is to be hoped that if bids arrived for Bent, he will only be allowed to leave at a time of the club's choosing.

Clearly Charlton can never hope to truly progress if we constantly sell our best players, but watching the tired performances of recent weeks, and being aware of the academy's failure to provide any first-team players, has got me wondering whether a Bent-financed full-scale clear-out may be our best long-term option. Consider the ages of the following key squad members:

Thomas Myhre (32)
Hermann Hreidarsson (31)
Chris Perry (32)
Radostin Kishishev (31)
Matt Holland (31)
Jason Euell (29)
Talal El Karkouri (29)
Shaun Bartlett (33)
Bryan Hughes (29)
Chris Powell (36)
Jonatan Johansson (30)

It doesn't really leave one hugely optimistic about the future. Clearly we have some players on our books who are young or nearing their prime, most notably the Bents, Ambrose, Andersen, Rommedahl, Fortune, Bothroyd, Lisbie, Thomas, Jeffers and Young, but we are already aware that some of these are not settled nor in Curbs' long-term plans. The lack of any homegrown players in the squad less than 25-years old is frankly absurd. Unless we build some real quality around this core, either from the academy or from outside then we run the risk of losing the better ones to more ambitious clubs anyhow.

Hence we come back to the £12million Bent question - if this type of bid arrived on the fax machine, would it be in the club's best long-term interests to accept it? If it meant we could purchase 5-6 of the most promising Championship players and begin to build a young vivacious team that will serve us well for several seasons to come?

Don't get me wrong, I love watching Darren Bent - how many of us were shouting 'GOAL' a good few seconds before he caressed the ball into the net on Sunday? But I'm also a realist, and the club's incredible piece of business in signing him may have to be sacrificed to make up for some of our transfer market errors, and the lack of productivity of our own academy (which remains, as you can probably tell, my biggest gripe with the club right now).


At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you know where in nyc can i see the saturday fa cup game?

At 11:49 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:52 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

I assume you mean the Charlton game? If so, I don't think it will be on anywhere though will check. If you want to watch Liverpool/Man U, Bolton/West Ham and Newcastle/Soton, then I would recommend either Nevada Smiths (3rd Ave/12th St) or McCormacks (3rd Ave/26th St). The former tends to get quite crowded if Man U are playing.

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks man,appreciate it. i know about most ny soccer pubs but was thinking maybe there is a place where i can see charlton. guess not. very frustrating.


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