BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Charlton manager Lee Bowyer has given Alfie Doughty’s move to Stoke City the seal of approval – and reckons the winger made the right call to stay in England.
Celtic made a number of bids for the 21-year-old in the previous transfer window.
But Stoke City have also been long-term admirers of the pacey attacker and fended off interest from AFC Bournemouth and QPR to land Doughty in a £650,000 deal. The League One side also have a sell-on, which is normal practise in a move of this nature.
Charlton would have got less in compensation if their academy product had chosen to move cross border when his contract expired at the end of June.
Initially Doughty was due to be loaned back to the South London club for the remainder of the League One campaign. But the medical flagged up that his torn hamstring would rule him out for all but the final handful of matches.
“Stoke is a good club with a good fanbase and they were in the Premier League not so long ago,” said Bowyer. “They will get back there – whether that is this year, next year or the year after.
“They have got good owners who have spent a lot of money over the years, and a good manager who has turned them around in the time he has been there.
“Because he isn’t coming back it leaves a space for someone else.
“We are trying to get someone in for the weekend but there are other things we’re looking at before the end of the window as well. We want to try and bring another two or three players in.”
Bowyer has praised Doughty for his attitude – with the winger fully aware that there was interest in his services before the start of the campaign.
Luton Town tried their luck with a low offer for the left-footer and when Thomas Sandgaard took control of Charlton at the end of September he rejected multiple approaches by Celtic.
But Doughty was never going to re-sign after relegation from the Championship – in a similar scenario to Dillon Phillips, who won the club’s Player of the Year award but joined Cardiff City on deadline day in the last window.
Charlton were under a transfer embargo due to East Street Investments never getting their takeover ratified by the EFL. By the time that Sandgaard assumed control, they were forced to operate under the salary cap which had been voted in by League One clubs.
Since then the Addicks have moved to secure other prospects to extended terms – Aaron Henry, Charlie Barker and Ashley Maynard-Brewer.
Albie Morgan and Josh Davison also put pen to paper before Sandgaard’s arrival.
“Obviously it is disappointing to lose Alfie because he has stepped up and has done everything that I asked of him,” said the Addicks chief.
“He improved and he will continue to improve. I don’t blame Alfie – everyone wants to play at the highest level they can.
“He’s a young lad who is learning. I have no doubt he will continue to learn and go on and on. He was an absolute pleasure to work with and a great lad around the place.
“This whole scenario has been going on for a little while now and even in the summer he knuckled down and was really professional. He has not been banging on my door saying: ‘Let me leave’. There was none of that.”
Charlton have seen two bids rejected by Exeter for Joel Randall. The Grecians value the 21-year-old – viewed as a replacement for Doughty – at £1million.
“We made reasonable offers,” said Bowyer. “I don’t think we insulted them in any way.
“Everyone has got their own value and we have to respect them for that. We do the same with our players.”
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