BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Ronnie Schwartz has been brought in to add more of a cutting edge to Charlton’s attack – with owner Thomas Sandgaard first mooting his fellow Dane as an addition.
The 31-year-old has joined until the summer of 2023. And while the fee paid to FC Midtjylland is undisclosed, it is understood to be the most spent by manager Lee Bowyer – topping the £200,000 to acquire Macauley Bonne from Orient in June 2019.
Schwartz has scored 119 goals in 287 appearances and was the leading scorer in the 2019-20 Danish Superliga as his club – owned by Brentford supremo Matthew Benham – were crowned as champions.
Charlton had tried to bring the frontman in at the end of the previous window but it fell through on the deadline day for overseas signings.
Bowyer has credited Sandgaard, who acquired the League One club in late September, with flagging up the former Randers, Guingamp and Silkeborg player.
“The owner was the one who put him to us in the beginning – he made us aware of him,” said the Addicks boss. “Myself and Steve Gallen [director of football] sat down, had a look and we liked what we saw.
“He is a fox in the box, if you know what I mean, he has good movement in and around the penalty area. He has played in a three up top before and he is better playing alongside someone.
“He works hard for the team and will bring something a little bit different.
“He can finish – that’s the most important thing. His record is very good. Playing in Denmark his goals per season is very high and you don’t do that unless you can finish.
“He’s not one of those strikers who stands there and waits for the ball. He’s a team player. His work-rate is very good.
“He brings experience as well. He has played European football.”
If there is an issue with Schwartz, it is that he has been frozen out of the first-team fold at Midtjylland. His only action was 31 minutes in Sydbank Pokalen – the Danish Cup – in November.
One of the things which has impeded Charlton this season has been injuries and players needing time to get back into tip-top match condition – Marcus Maddison a prime example of the latter.
Schwartz only missed one league fixture last season and scored 20 goals in 36 outings. Asked about his inactivity since, Bowyer replied: “Obviously there was something with his club, I’m not sure of the ins and outs of it. All I do know is that he was desperate to come here.
“He wanted to come here in the summer and it just couldn’t happen for one reason or another. But the most important thing is that he is here now.
“He has played the odd game here and there – not as much as we’d have liked – so we’re going to have to be a little bit patient with him.
“He is not miles and miles behind but he is behind on match fitness. Monday was the first day he joined in with us properly.”
Bowyer has maintained that adding to his attack was the most pressing priority despite injuries to centre-backs Ryan Inniss and Akin Famewo.
Chuks Aneke and Conor Washington are the club’s joint top-scorers in the league with six apiece.
“We miss too many chances,” said Bowyer. “We missed a chance from six yards out [in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Hull City] – we can’t keep doing that because you aren’t going to win games.
“We have to improve that area. We work hard on the training pitch all the time but on a matchday we can’t control that – it is an instinctive thing.”
Charlton are 18th in a form guide for the last six matches – taking six points over that period.
The dip has attracted criticism from some quarters of the fanbase with a six-game winning streak – going seven unbeaten and not conceding a goal in more than nine hours – arguably increasing expectations.
Charlton were under a transfer embargo before Sandgaard swept in – and by that time League One had voted in a salary cap.
“In the summer I said it was a rebuilding job and I wasn’t lying – we lost 12 players,” said Bowyer.
“A lot of them were our starters.
“The cap made it very difficult to bring in the players that are going to push you to compete.
“With the facilities and other things, we cut back so much in the time I’ve been here. You can’t keep doing that. Now it has come to a point where we have to start rebuilding again. It’s not what everybody wants to hear and it hurts me to say it.
“But that’s where we are now.
“Bringing in Ronnie is going to improve us. Is he now going to get us promoted? No, but he’ll help push us in the right direction.
“We signed some players in the summer, and some good players. But what has disappointed me most is that we have had three, four or five of our starters out and lads have got their chance and some didn’t perform to what I expect.
“We carried too many players at the weekend against a Hull side who have been fortunate to keep enough of their squad they also had in the Championship. You could tell the difference. We still had good spells in the game at times but we weren’t clinical enough – we made the wrong decision too many times.
“It’s baffling when we work so hard on the training pitch and then can’t do it on a matchday.”
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