Charlton AthleticSport

Andy Scott: Charlton Athletic owners ready to invest in January transfer window to boost play-off prospects

Charlton Athletic technical director Andy Scott says that the club’s owners are ready to invest in the January transfer window to increase the chances of reaching the League One play-offs.

SE7 Partners acquired the Addicks off Thomas Sandgaard in late July and before that had to work in conjunction with the US-based Dane on player targets while they were in the process of negotiating a deal.

Next month’s trading period is the first one where they are in control from the very start.

American backers Gabriel Brener and Joshua Friedman, the biggest investors in the SE7 Partners ownership group, have both been at Valley matches this season watching their new charges.

Scott’s priority is to try and bring in permanent signings rather than going down the loan route.

“Our owners are backing Michael and the club – they are making funds available to bring players in,” Scott told the South London Press. “There is money available.

“We want to improve the starting 11 and make changes to the squad. They believe, like we do, that if we do that we’ve got the chance to push for the play-offs in the second half of the season.

“We have got a mix where we have got some very young players and senior players, but the senior ones have not been on the pitch enough.

“We want to bring in better quality – a bit of leadership and experience in the group – to make sure we can handle all the opposition we get in League One.

“If you look at the teams at the top – the Portsmouths, Peterboroughs and Boltons – they have established a squad over the last two or three years that have got a mix of everything. I don’t think our mix is quite right yet.

“The number we bring in and how much we spend is dependent on a lot of things.

“The January window is really tough – teams don’t generally like to let good players go or they don’t unless they get top dollar – and we have to be careful of our financial situation to make sure we are adhering to regulations.

“We’ve outlined a plan of what we want to do – where we want to tweak the squad, what type of players we want to bring in and what areas. The owners have been excellent and whole-hearted in their support of it.

Picture: Paul Edwards

“We’ve just got to make sure we spend it correctly and don’t make changes for the sake of change. The players we bring in need to be good players for us not just for this season but moving forward as well.”

Scott’s role was made tougher by inheriting players who took up a hefty chunk of the wagebill.

Charlie Kirk – a £500,000 signing from Crewe in the Sandgaard era – has come to a settlement to terminate his contract.

Diallang Jaiyesimi, another significant financial outlay from Swindon Town, is on loan at St Johnstone until the end of the campaign, when he becomes a free agent.

James Abankwah’s loan from Udinese has been terminated while Charlton are also in control of whether Manchester City’s Slobodan Tedic and Wolves’ Chem Campbell stay in SE7 or head back to their parent clubs.

Head coach Michael Appleton recently said that Charlton’s transfer windows had to be “a million times better” if they wanted to buck their recent trend of being a mid-table outfit.

Picture: Paul Edwards

“I’ve had a chat with Michael and I think it (his comments) was out of frustration after the Cambridge game (when his side let a 2-0 lead slip to draw 2-2),” said Scott. “Certainly there has been mistakes in most windows in the last four, five or six years at the club. But there has also been some really good successes that I think people can overlook.

“Certainly last January, the fact we were able to move Eoghan O’Connell and Jayden Stockley on meant we were allowed to bring in Lloyd Jones and Alfie May in this window.

“You would say being able to do that was successful.

“Tayo Edun and Tennai Watson are starting to show their quality now they have had that consistency of being on the pitch. They are both finding their feet.

“Clearly some of the players we signed in the summer have not worked out yet, whether that is injuries or loans that haven’t quite worked – Michael has come in and wanted them to be someone else.

“I don’t think saying something is a million miles away can be the truth when we have made some of the good signings that the club have.

“Everyone is aware our recruitment has to improve. The fact we are changing how we are doing recruitment and adding to our recruitment team, which means we can watch players more and make sure we do our due-diligence so we know everything about them, is going to give us a better chance.

“Recruitment is difficult. You don’t know which players are going to settle. We’ve seen loads of players who have gone to a club, it hasn’t worked out and they’ve gone to other clubs and it has worked. Sometimes that is just the way it is.

“When you go into a club there are players you would’ve signed and ones you probably wouldn’t have signed – finances sometimes dictate whether you think they are a good player or a bad player.

“We have got the hand that we we’ve been dealt and we’ve got to play it. Whether it is this window, the summer window or the winter window after that, we’ve got to make changes and make sure we do the best for the football club – get the best value for players in the team.

“If there are people who aren’t contributing or ones we feel can move on and reinvest that money then we will do so.”

Picture: Paul Edwards

One signing who has sparkled is Alfie May. The 30-year-old has already paid back a serious wedge of the fee paid to Cheltenham in July with 19 goals in all competitions – 15 in the league.

May won’t be moving on.

“The whole ambition of the owners and board is to get this club into the top half of the Championship,” said Scott. “We did a big piece with all the staff recently about the vision of the football club – and that is to be a cohesive, community-driven club that is competing at an elite level – that goes through to the women’s team, academy team and first-team.

“To play at elite level, first of all we have to get to the Championship, then be in the top half and push on from there.

“To do that we don’t want to lose our best players. Alfie is key to that. He has had an amazing season so far, goalscoring wise. He’s a great character. We’re trying to build a squad – not dismantle one.

“He is one of the players who has contributed very well. We are really happy with Alfie and he’s really happy with us – he isn’t going anywhere.”


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