BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Charlton Athletic are almost at League One salary cap levels – and that is likely to limit transfer activity in the January window.
The Addicks brought in 13 players before the recent deadline. But unfortunately Thomas Sandgaard’s takeover happened after spending restrictions were voted in.
It means clubs in England’s third tier can name a 23-man squad and have a player expenditure of £2.5million a year.
Charlton manager Lee Bowyer had hoped that the club’s ownership issues had been resolved before the cap came into effect.
Instead the SE7 outfit were under a transfer embargo until Danish businessman Sandgaard acquired the football club off East Street Investments on September 25.
The Addicks had been interested in striker Jonson Clarke-Harris. The 26-year-old ended up signing for Peterborough at the end of August for £1.2million.
Clarke-Harris has scored five goals in nine League One appearances for the table-topping Posh, who are three points ahead of Charlton.
They Addicks also saw a move for FC Midtjylland’s Ronnie Schwartz fall though at the end of the last window. It would have been the biggest fee that Bowyer had spent.
But Charlton’s director of football Steve Gallen still added quality with the likes of Ben Watson, Omar Bogle, Paul Smyth, Marcus Maddison, Ryan Innis, Chris Gunter and Andrew Shinnie brought in after Sandgaard’s arrival.
Asked how much money the Addicks were allowed under EFL rules to spend in January, Gallen told the South London Press: “Not very much, in honesty. We’re under budget. We had a little bit of money left, only a very little bit.
“Let’s just say we had £100,000 left over the year. When we get to January that’s £100,000 left for four or five months. That’s maybe £4,000 a week until the end of the season.
“We always talk about over a year but it’s not going to be a year. When we signed Adam Matthews last week it’s not for a year-long contract. It’s eight months, or whatever it is.
“There is a bit of room for manoeuvring. There’s also the possibility that some of the loanees we’ve taken could get called back – that gives us a little more space in the squad and also gives us a little more money.
“We’ve also got two players out on loan. George Lapslie said he needed to go and play and he was 100 per cent right. We facilitated Erhun Oztumer going to Bristol Rovers – they were keen.
“Sometimes the outs can get in the way. I don’t focus as much on the outs as perhaps other people in my position do. In some ways it doesn’t help me sending people out – because then I need to sign 13 players instead of 11.
“But we got Paul Smyth and Shinnie for less than George Lapslie and Erhun’s money.
“It suited us and it suited them players. They are both great lads.”
Conor Washington moved further clear at the top of Charlton’s scoring charts after a double in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over Fleetwood. The Northern Ireland international has five goals with only Chuks Aneke (two) netting more than once.
Gallen said: “I see what some of the fans are saying ‘we didn’t get a 20-goal striker’. But I know that. I don’t want to be disrespectful to any of our players but it’s more the sum of our parts, that’s how I see it.
“How do you get a 20-goal striker? Who are you going to get? Jonson Clarke-Harris? Fair enough – £1.2million. And then whatever the wages – eight grand- when we’ve got two to spare.”
**See next Friday’s South London Press for an in-depth interview with Steve Gallen.
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