Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yassin Moutaouakil

Exciting signing, good-looking lad, but how the hell do you pronounce his surname?

We've signed mystery young foreigners before(Gislason, Youga, etc..), but there's something about both this signing and Martin Christensen's, which gives me cause for optimism.

Firstly real cash has been handed over in both cases, implying greater credibility in their prospects. Second, they've both played Under-21 football for countries renowned for their young talent. Third, young hungry players will trump more seasoned types every time for me, not least because Charlton lacks the gravitas of bigger richer clubs (before long they're bemoaning the lack of film premieres).

Anyone expecting a panicky fire sale will have been disappointed so far. Moreover, the speed with which our four post-season signings have been made suggests plenty of preparatory work has been done, and we will surely benefit from their presence throughout the pre-season build-up. It all suggests lessons have been learned from last season.

However, after June 30th the door marked 'exit' will be the busier one, and whilst some moves have been 'telegraphed' but not yet confirmed (eg. El Karkouri, Rommedahl), the future of some other of our higher paid players is less clear-cut. The most obvious examples would appear to be Marcus Bent, Soulemayne Diawara, Luke Young, Darren Ambrose and Jerome Thomas. None are good enough to claim Premiership (or foreign equivalent) status as an absolute given, yet unlike Darren Bent, they are not highly coveted assets.

Those fringe players at the end of their contracts will simply be released. But in the case of some of the aforementioned, the club will have to weigh up the likelihood that opportunistic Premiership clubs seek to acquire him 'on the cheap', against the need to pay his wages in the even that no such lowball bid is acceptable.

Talking of lowball bids, Peter Varney has again been talking up Darren Bent's valuation to the media. I find it almost implausible that the club is laying out considerable money (by Championship standards) on new transfers (approx £3m already), whilst also insisting that there was a genuine chance Bent would still be a Charlton player next season.

In this context therefore, I was reminded of a recent random TV news segment concerning the ongoing chaos in the Florida property market. Their stories are sad ones, but the woman who proclaims that the developers promised not to sell properties, "...below their market value...," reminded me of Varney's comments about Bent. If you assume (as I do increasingly) that he will have to be sold, then our fixed 'market valuation' of him is an irrelevance, and our anchorage to it is illusory.

Press reports appear to claim that Spurs are interested in signing Bent, but are unwilling py £17m, and to be honest I'm not sure I blame them (Berbatov only cost them £10.9m). I fear and expect therefore, that the most likely outcome is that he is sold for say £10-12m in cash, with a player or two tacked onto the deal (Gardner, Murphy, Barnard etc..). A similar deal might conceivably be struck with Liverpool also of course. Cue attempts by the club to claim the total 'package' is still worth £17m, in order to placate those fans that Varney's comments were credible. Unfortunately, I don't believe they are.


Finally, and more importantly New York Addick would like to send his sympathies to Charlton North Downs on the loss of his mother. He began his blog in April 2007 and has always said kind words about mine, but I was especially touched that he chose to mention it again at this difficult time.

I particularly enjoy CND's blog because, like Chicago Addick it combines knowledgeable pieces about Charlton, with enjoyable personal insights which in both cases I happen to find of interest (travel, tennis, music etc..). If you are not already reading one or both, I strongly recommend you begin doing so.

The most rewarding part of this blog has not so much been in the writing of it, but in the initiation of both face-to-face and email contact with tens of Charlton fans (from far flung corners of the globe) that I would never have come across otherwise, given my lack of roots in the South East London area.

As an essentially rational person, my obsession with Charlton leaves me open to claims of double standards but if I had to seek to 'rationalise' it, I would point to the way it continues to connect me with interesting people that I would not otherwise have come across. The Internet is good like that.


At 10:49 AM, Blogger charlton north-downs said...

Thank you New York, I very much appreciate your kind words. There is a very sad announcement on Confidential Rick Blog and for some reason I was drawn to it today.

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