BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Andrew Muir’s takeover of Charlton Athletic has taken a fresh twist – after the South London Press received confirmation that Roland Duchatelet made the call to sell Ezri Konsa.
The England under-21 international joined Championship side Brentford on Tuesday for an undisclosed fee.
And the South London Press has been told that it was Duchatelet’s decision to let the young talent leave as he looks to bring the club’s losses under control.
Australian businessman Muir had been in lengthy negotiations about buying the Addicks and earlier in the week his group seemed confident of completing a deal before the weekend.
But the sale of Konsa appears to be at the very least a sign that the Belgian owner, who still wants to sell and would be happy for it to be Muir’s consortium, is starting to make his own plans for the 2018-19 campaign – or is losing patience over the time taken for a takeover to be signed and sealed.
Duchatelet has been in the capital this week making some decisions about next season. That is thought to include the managerial position – which remains vacant.
Lee Bowyer, who took caretaker charge for the final two months of the season and managed to guide Charlton into the League One play-offs, is likely to be Duchatelet’s pick to remain at the helm while the club’s long-term future remains so uncertain.
But whether he would be appointed on a permanent basis is unclear.
Bowyer has already made it clear that he would only countenance staying on if he got the top job and would not be prepared to go back to his previous role, where he was number two to Karl Robinson.
There has been a suggestion that the sale of Konsa will help balance the books – with improving the financial situation in turn making the club a more attractive proposition for investors whether that is Muir or another bidder – but the fact that the 20-year-old has been allowed to leave is thought to have been a surprise to Muir’s consortium.
It seems that they are still trying to conclude their purchase and that the move has not collapsed. But the sale of a prize asset only adds more doubt about what direction talks will go next.
The situation has an urgency to it as a whole number of positions remain unfilled at the SE7 outfit – chairman, chief executive, finance chief, manager, assistant manager and goalkeeper coach.
Bowyer and Johnnie Jackson, who stepped up to assist the former Charlton and Leeds midfielder, remain contracted to the club.
But that is where the clarity in terms of what lies ahead ends.
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.