Exclusive: Lee Bowyer opens up on EFL transfer embargo – and reveals why Charlton can’t sign players

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Charlton Athletic cannot bring in any new signings unless they free up spaces in their squad.

And the EFL are counting any players who have made a senior appearance for Lee Bowyer’s side as part of his first-team squad.

The Addicks have been under a transfer embargo since January due to East Street Investments not getting their takeover approved.

And Bowyer has spelled out the situation facing Charlton.

The EFL are saying they already have a 23-man squad – despite the fact that 12 senior ones moved on this summer.

“As it stands we can’t bring anyone in – even if we had all the money in the world,” said the Addicks manager. “We can’t sign anyone.

“We’re not allowed to sign anyone unless we let players go.

“We’re working behind the scenes to try and make some spaces available but it’s not easy. I’m being told ‘just be patient’ but it’s driving me mad. I can’t even do my job properly at the moment.”

Charlton play their first match on Tuesday as they take on AFC Wimbledon in the EFL Trophy.

But Bowyer says he could be forced to go full strength and not hand debuts to junior players because then they would automatically qualify to come into his squad if they do free up spaces.

EFL rules state every club must be allowed a 23-man squad.

“We were going to play the U23s because we’re still trying to prepare for the league,” said Bowyer. “That’s more important to me, to prepare for the first game of the season.

“I wanted a full week of training because as it stands we’re changing things around in the way we’re playing – we’ve got new bodies and players who didn’t play as much last year but are becoming main players. There is a lot of work on the training pitch, which we’re doing.

“If we were to lose three players and had played U23s then they become first-team players. The EFL are already saying that with players who have played 15 minutes a year or two years ago when they came on as a sub. But it was because we had so many injuries that we had to play players who weren’t ready. We had no choice – it was either that or play with nine men.

“They [the EF:] are trying to say they are first-team players – but they are not.

“That’s why we can’t bring no-one in. We should be able to bring in at least three players because at the moment some of those players aren’t part of the first-team squad in my eyes.

“But the EFL are saying they are because one player played a game two years ago. It’s pathetic.”

PICTURE BY KYLE ANDREWS


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