BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Roland Duchatelet’s plea for the EFL to give a timeframe on deliberating on East Street Investment’s takeover bid for Charlton Athletic is likely to fall on deaf ears.
It had been hoped by Addicks supporters that the club would be under new ownership before Christmas after a deal was agreed by ESI.
The buyers – who are being bankrolled by Abu Dhabi-based businessman Tahnoon Nimer – say that they have provided proof and source of funds.
And the individuals who would comprise their board – Nimer, Matt Southall and Jonathan Heller – were recently interviewed by the EFL, who require people to pass their owners’ and directors’ test for any takeover to be approved.
It’s understood that Duchatelet was keen to issue a statement earlier in the week airing his frustrations that the process had not been wrapped up, even though ESI have maintained that they had no issues over the amount of time it had taken.
Duchatelet told the club’s website: “The club first notified the EFL of the potential takeover of the club by East Street Investments (ESI) on November 20. The club started to submit documents to the EFL on November 27. Since then both parties have been in contact with the EFL providing the information requested.
“Despite several requests from the club, the EFL have not provided a timeline for their decision.
“Part of the plan for ESI is to strengthen the team in January, using these weeks in December to put the building blocks in place for that, so any delay is impacting the future of the club.
“This period of uncertainty also has an impact on the fans, who want the club to be taken over, and on Charlton’s hard-working staff.
“We appreciate that the EFL need to do a thorough investigation into any new owners but it has now been a month since the initial conversations and 23 days since the current ownership began submitting documents.
“The process is taking longer than we expected and we would like to urge the EFL to complete the decision-making procedure.”
It’s hard to envisage the EFL changing their approach just because Duchatelet has gone public with his disappointment that Charlton are not off his hands before the festive period.
The January transfer window opens soon and the current Addicks owner seems unwilling to spend on a side who are dropping dangerously closer to the relegation zone – along with Lyle Taylor’s future once again set to come under scrutiny.
Charlton manager Lee Bowyer told the South London Press on Thursday that Taylor had rejected a new contract offer. Even if the frontman is sold then it it hard to see how the funds raised would be substantial enough to find an adequate replacement.
The Addicks had targeted Ivan Toney in August when they feared Taylor would go but Peterborough rejected a £4million offer and that price has only gone up in the meantime. Plus Taylor is highly unlikely to command that fee when he only has six months left on his contract.
Duchatelet rejected all of Brentford’s bids in the summer – earning praise from Bowyer – but there are no guarantees he will do so again at the start of 2020.
Do you let the club’s talismanic forward go? Relegation from the Championship would see a loss in income of at least £5million.
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