BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Further doubts over the viability of Andrew Muir’s takeover of Charlton Athletic have been raised as the South London club look set to cash in on Patrick Bauer.
The Australian multi-millionaire has been in talks for months over a deal for the League One club – but the latest noises are far from encouraging.
The South London Press has confirmation from a high level source on the buying side that it was current Addicks owner Roland Duchatelet who sanctioned the sale of Ezri Konsa to Brentford last week in a deal worth slightly over £3million.
“Our policy will be to retain Charlton’s established players,” they said.
But a report over the weekend in the national media claimed that Blackburn Rovers officials were heading to London to try and strike a deal for German centre-back Bauer.
Even though the former Maritimo and VfB Stuttgart man only has 12 months to run on his Valley terms, the £400,000 figure reported looks low.
All the indications are that if Duchatelet stays in control, then there will be cuts right across the board – with the players and staff wage bill the most expensive area of outlay.
We have been told that winger Tariqe Fosu would be available for around £2m with box-to-box midfielder Joe Aribo another who could elicit offers.
Duchatelet was in the capital last week and agreed a deal for Lee Bowyer to continue in caretaker charge of the Addicks.
The club issued a statement which described the wantaway Belgian as making “provisional decisions to allow the club to best prepare for the start of the 2018-19 campaign”.
They added: “The club’s ownership remain very hopeful of the takeover but felt it could not be left any longer to make key decisions with the season fast approaching and the players due back for pre-season at the end of the month.”
Charlton’s traditional curtain-raiser friendly against Welling United has been pushed back a week until July 14 – with claims that the request to move it came from Bowyer.
But that also looked the period when the Addicks would go away on a training camp.
Duchatelet is unwilling to fork out the considerable expenses to take the squad away. Sources at the club suggest it is a move to bring them more in line with other League One clubs.
Karl Robinson twice took Charlton out to Ireland last summer – initially for fitness work and then returning to play friendlies out there.
The Muir-fronted bid has been in the pipeline since comfortably before the end of the 2017 and finding out the reasons why it has not been completed are extremely difficult.
Not only are non-disclosure agreements thought to be in place, but the EFL will also not comment on individual cases regarding the ‘fit and proper’ test – which needs to be passed for anyone to buy an English football club.
Both parties still maintain that the takeover is not dead, but any indications of a timescale are not being given.
Muir’s attendance at the League One play-off semi-final home game against Shrewsbury Town seemed to be laying down a marker he was in the end game.
But now there are genuine concerns over where the bid is at after they missed a hoped-for deadline of completion last week plus the sale of a prized youth product – with the threat of more outgoings to come.
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