Friday, January 31, 2014

Mind Your Language

Transfer deadline day, Sky Sports very own Christmas Day but not an occasion when Charlton were ever likely to get everything they wanted.

As our new owner started pulling strings yesterday with the sale of Dale Stephens to Brighton and Hove Albion, it was inevitable that talismanic striker Yann Kermorgant would follow the midfielder out of The Valley today. What we didn't expect was the departure of Ben Alnwick on top.

Stephens, a player linked last year with Aston Villa, was having a good season with the Addicks. The Jekyll and Hyde of the team, you never knew quite which Dale Stephens would be playing, the tactical reader of the game that could run the midfield or the ineffectual onlooker who looked both lazy and out of his depth. When the Premier League side from Birmingham came sniffing it was widely reported that the player was homesick and was desperate for a move closer to home. Born in Bolton, it appears the poor lad had his map upside down whilst speaking to the Seagulls.

We knew Bournemouth, the club, wanted Yann, the supporters according to Twitter far less convinced about the acquisition. This morning he broke the hearts of the Charlton faithful and that of the manager Chris Powell too by passing a medical on the south coast and signed on the dotted line for an undisclosed fee. A two and a half year contract with a decent wage is a cracking deal for the 32 year old; he obviously hid his financial delight and security when posing for the obligatory photo holding aloft the new shirt. With a scoring rate of a goal every three games, it was no surprise that Roland Duchâtelet offered the Frenchman a new two year deal himself but something obviously wasn't right for the player, rumours suggest it may have been the long term prospects for Powell that tipped the scales. I believe it was more likely the wage packet.

Ben Alnwick's permanent move to Leyton Orient was a complete surprise. The keeper has had a good little run in the first team since Ben Hamer's injury and did his reputation no harm at all gaining perhaps too many plaudits along the way. We can't of course compare him yet to new stopper Yohann Thuram-Ulien but I would certainly have rather seen Hamer be the goalkeeper to be shown the exit door over Alnwick. As things stand however it could be a good move for the keeper, it may well prove to be a safer bet on securing involvement in Championship football next season.

Three out then, three first team members too, yet with only four hours left of the window I don't think we'll see more departures. With Yann going and young Joe Pigott going on loan to Gillingham, the act of scoring the goals required to secure our future at this level fell to Simon Church, Marvin Sodall and Iranian international Reza Ghoochannejhad. Simeon Jackson, a player we were rumoured to be linked with, appears to be going to Millwall so it's another foreign newcomer that we pin our hopes on.

Piotr Parzyszek, a young Polish striker passed a medical (and the barbers judging by the state of his Barnet) today to become the sixth foreign import to join the club this month. Signed from Dutch side De Graafschap, surprisingly not a member of the Duchâtelet empire, young Piotr has promisingly been prolific at a very good level of football.

Interest in Rhoys Wiggins has been put to bed with the full back penning a new deal at the club, more encouraging than another new signing, especially when you now consider how many languages will now be spoken in the dressing room.

The problem may well be lack of communication, it's a well known fact that any group of players need time to gel even when they all understand each other. There is certainly no time for Chris Powell to take them on one of his favourite jaunts to Spain this time. One thing is for certain, with us sitting uncomfortably in the bottom three Roland may have to act quickly and put his hands in his pockets to fund a few emergency English lessons.

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