Charlton’s new striker Igor Vetokele admits he was surprised FC Copenhagen were willing to let him go.
The 22-year-old Belgian scored 16 times during his two-year spell with the Danish side but has swapped the Champions League for the Championship after completing a summer switch to The Valley.
Vetokele doesn’t have any regrets about no longer playing in the continent’s most prestigious competition, although he acknowledged Copenhagen’s decision to cash in by selling him to the Addicks was not one he initially expected.
“I was a little bit surprised because my lawyer had a meeting with Copenhagen a few months ago and they said I couldn’t go and then a few months later they accept an offer from Charlton,” the forward said.
“But then on the other hand here it is much more intense the competition and the league compared with the Danish league.
“OK, I played Champions League over there but that is only six games in a season, and if you go through a little bit more.
“Here I will play a lot more games so I think it is the right step.
“They started buying other players also so maybe they were preparing for me to leave.
“Charlton are very ambitious. I spoke with the coach and also with the president and they convinced me on the project they are doing now.
“Then I decided to leave Copenhagen and here I am playing in England.
“I always dreamed about playing here and hopefully in the future we can make the step up to the Premier League.”
Vetokele is already settling in but is quick to point out his game isn’t just about scoring goals.
He said: “I’ve had a couple of training sessions in the last few days and have been adapting a little bit to the system and the training, because it is much more intense definitely than in Denmark.
“I like to play through the centre. I like to touch the ball also and play in combinations.
“I’m quite a fast player, have good jumping ability and hopefully I can score a lot of goals also.
“I just want to adapt as fast as possible now and then we will see, but at the moment I will not set any particular targets.”
Head coach Bob Peeters is no stranger to Vetokele having been his boss at Brugge and the striker is looking to being under his fellow Belgian’s guidance again.
“I’ve had quite a lot of coaches in my career and for me it is very important I can play for a coach who believes in you and gives you everything you need. I need to improve on some aspects.
“I’ve worked with Bob before so he knows my strengths and my weaknesses.”
Vetokele says his main knowledge of English football comes from watching the Premier League regularly on television, although he admits he isn’t yet quite as familiar with the Championship.
The striker added: “I’ve heard a lot about it but I didn’t really follow it like the Premier League for example.
“I know some players who have played here (England) also and I spoke to a lot of people about it.
“Everyone told me I shouldn’t underestimate this league. It is very tough.”
There will be plenty of expectation Vetokele will be the man to solve Charlton’s goals shortage which almost saw them relegated last season, although the man in question sees success as a collective effort.
He said: “You win as a team and you lose as a team so I will try to do my best to score as much as possible.
“It depends on the team - if the team is playing better it is easier as a striker to score goals.”
And is he prepared for the rigours of a gruelling 46-game Championship campaign?
“Of course I’m ready.
“Football players prefer playing games.”
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