Thursday, September 03, 2009

Deadline Day

The approach to the transfer deadline has not been kind to the Addicks in recent years (think Parker, Murphy, etc.), but it was more bearable this time.

The January window tends to be more frantic anyhow, with agents taking advantage of panicky managers to offload their overpriced wares.

However it is hard to imagine that there wasn't considerable interest, especially from Championship clubs, for our sparkling midfield.

Thus we should be grateful to our Board for turning down any bids, and to any players concerned for not throwing any hissy fits.

Ironically the transfer deadline was irrelevant to the best piece of news from Tuesday, since it concerned a free agent.

Born in the Borough of Greenwich, and a member of an exceptional sporting family, Sam Sodje did not make the jump from non-League football until after his 25th birthday.

As a result, the popular defender with the prodigious leap has barely made 100 League starts. However 20 of them came in a Charlton shirt during 2007/8, impressive ones they were too generally, though he'll surely start on the bench against former club Brentford.

After a losing debut at home to QPR, he started in the following four consecutive victories and was generally a fixture until a daft red card at Norwich opened the way for Paddy McCarthy to return to Pardew's favour.

His two most impressive traits are his ability at attacking set pieces, and the infectious enthusiasm he brings, not seen perhaps since former Addick teammate Chris Powell moved on.

Whilst hardly a classical defender however, he offers vital cover for the incumbent pair who have seen only three goals go past Rob Elliot behind them. In the meantime, his most productive work may be done in the dressing room and on the training ground.

The other positions where we were desperate for cover, were centre forward and left midfield.

With the acquisition of Leon McKenzie, Phil Parkinson hopes to have killed two birds with one stone, a smart move perhaps unless both Messrs Bailey and Burton are injured or suspended concurrently.

His scoring record is impressive, averaging nearly a goal every other start, although he has also been utilised as a regular substitute.

He will have to prove his fitness, and at 31 years old he must represent a risky transfer given his recent injury problems. However the one-year deal and presumably unexceptional wages probably heavily discount this anyhow.

There's not much specific to say about the other deadline day acquisition of Luke Holden, except that after one good 'Luke' (Young) and one bad 'Luke' (Varney), it's perhaps worth remembering the words of The Hollies: "Just one Luke, that's all it took (yeah)"

If the signing is out of 'leftfield', then so is his position reportedly operating as an exciting winger (though they said that about Martin Christensen).

Like most clubs, we haven't had huge success with these speculative non-League purchases, although it doesn't stop us from trying.

Despite high hopes even recently, the likes of Chris Dickson and Stuart Fleetwood have failed to make the grade, whilst who even remembers the likes of Dorian Smith?

Perhaps our location in 'Greenwich Borough' persuades us we'll emulate our South London rivals, and uncover the next Ian Wright.

It's only an initial loan so there's not much to lose, but in order to believe in the potential of these types of signings, one has to believe also that the market for football talent is very 'inefficient'.

An inefficient market would imply that players can be found playing in leagues several rungs below their potential, and moreover that they can be prised away for next to nothing (implying no-one else has spotted the potential). Jonjo Shelvey playing for Charlton does not imply 'inefficiency' for example.

In a world of enormous scouting networks and voracious agents, it is hard to make a realistic case that a true 20-year old talent is hiding away in Rhyl, and is available for free. Perhaps on the beaches of Copacabana, or in the shanty towns of Soweto. However, I hope to be proved wrong.

Yassin Moutaouakil has finally found a club, and I bet no-one was expecting it to be Motherwell. If rumours are true that he struggled to settle in London, then I would worry about his mindset in an impoverished old steel town just outside of Glasgow.

His failure to make it at Charlton despite his obvious talents and French U-21 experience, only serves to further emphasise the challenge presented to the likes of Holden.

Parkinson's comments that his presence would present an obstacle to Chris Solly was odd however. After all, we're a professional football club not the Chris Solly Development Trust; sometimes I'd wish they'd just tell the truth (we all know the Frenchman can play).

I was surprised to see him only go out on loan, but perhaps the club had no choice if the sole concern was getting his wages off the payroll.

He still has two years left on his contract, so we should all hope he is a roaring success in order to boost his transfer value. It's hard to envisage him having a future back at Charlton.

However if some of his past defending is anything to go by, he will be giving Scottish wingers more freedom than Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed Al Megrahi.


At 9:30 PM, Anonymous aitchy said...

NYA,read a really funny and true article on transfer deadline day on Charlton Life:Blog


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