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Charlton Athletic snap up Arsenal midfielder Matt Smith on loan

Charlton Athletic have signed Arsenal midfielder Matt Smith on loan.

The 20-year-old spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Swindon Town and has been one of their standout performers.

Addicks manager Lee Bowyer believes Smith will help them unlock opposing defences – and is also determined to improve his all-round game.

He is the League One outfit’s fourth addition of the January transfer window.

“He’s a good footballer. He is bringing us a bit of energy and he sees a pass. He slides people in.

“We tried to get him in the summer but we were under that embargo and Arsenal couldn’t wait around any longer. It was important for them that he went and played some games.

“He has become available and we have got him now.

“He is more like an eight. If we play a diamond he will probably be on the outside or as a 10. He’s a clever player. He can receive it in tight areas.

Arsenal U23’s Matthew Smith

“I’ll try to make him into that box-to-box, up and down – like what we’re doing with Albie Morgan now. All these U23 players are similar in the way they play – there ain’t many box-to-box midfielders today.

“They are all good on the ball and they can play, but it’s that athletic type of game that I think all of them lack. They have got to go forward but also defend. That’s not just him…they are all like that. We’ll improve him. He is a good player already, there is a good base to work with.

“It is what the midfield needed – when we are in the final third, to see that pass. Ronnie [Schwartz] makes some good runs and he is not really getting slipped in at the moment. He is one that can do that. He’s quite similar to [Andrew] Shinnie.”

Charlton director of football Steve Gallen added: “He’s done well at Swindon, we’ve followed him over the last few months and he came available late and we were in a position to sign him, so I’m pleased we’ve been able to get it done.

“He’s a good footballer technically, especially with his through passes and reverse passes – he’s a clever player. He’s good at receiving on the half turn, trying to play forward, so he’ll complement our team and the way we play. Players like Ronnie Schwartz and Conor Washington should benefit from the passes that he brings.”

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