Charlton AthleticSport

Charlton have solved search for box-to-box midfielder with arrival of MK man

Steve Gallen reckons that Charlton Athletic have found their box-to-box midfielder with the acquisition of Alex Gilbey.

The 25-year-old has signed a contract until 2023 and joins for an undisclosed fee.

Gilbey has won back-to-back Player of the Year awards at MK and his performances at Colchester United earned him a Championship chance with Wigan in 2016.

“He is a bit different to the other footballers we have got,” said Gallen. “Albie Morgan and Jake Forster-Caskey are good footballers and Darren Pratley is that defensive type who gets around people. Gilbey is box to box but an attacking type – a number eight.

“Conor Gallagher was outstanding for us in that role but unfortunately we couldn’t replace like for like in January [when he was recalled by Chelsea].

“I’m not putting pressure on Alex by comparing him, but that’s the type he is. He can run into the box and times that run well. That’s what Lee was all about as a player and he’ll work a lot with him.

“I’m sure the [MK] fans are disappointed to lose him.

“What I would say is that a lot of clubs above us are looking at Charlton and thinking ‘they’ve got problems – we can probably take him, him and him for virtually nothing’.

“We’ve come down as maybe a small fish in a big pond and now we’re a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

“League One and League Two clubs are struggling badly. I’m not saying MK Dons are, I don’t know what their situation is. But for them to receive a transfer fee might be really helpful.

“They have to cut their cloth accordingly to their players and wage structure. They might feel they can use his wage elsewhere and maybe get two players for that. I don’t know this as a fact, it’s just what I’m thinking

“It’s the same way people may see us and think they can maybe get some players on the cheap.

“I’ve looked at other clubs in League One and League Two and thought it could be beneficial for both clubs – I can help them and they can help us.

“The Alex Gilbey deal has definitely helped both parties. I think both, behind the scenes, will be very happy about it.”

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