OUR Charlton columnist MATIAS GREZ has been left feeling bewildered by all the comings and goings at The Valley in the final stages of the transfer window.
WHAT a difference a month makes.
After Roland Duchâtelet took charge, the initial excitement at the prospect of our club having significant funds to spend in the transfer market, as well as the chance to tie down new contracts, soon turned to despair as we lost two of our best players, including our beloved Frenchman.
Once Dale Stephens had completed his switch to Brighton, the midfielder admitted the uncertainty surrounding Chris Powell’s future as Charlton manager was a major factor in his decision to move to the south coast.
Yann Kermorgant decided to leave as he was offered reduced terms when asked to sign a new contract, bewildering beyond belief when you consider he has been our best player and talisman for the past three years.
I don’t want to go into Yann-related things in too much detail, as I have already mourned his departure and need to start looking to the future at some stage.
But if if Kermorgant’s exit on Friday was all but expected, then Ben Alnwick’s was certainly not.
There had been talk of him leaving on loan to Leyton Orient, a move which made little sense when the news broke.
But when the club announced he had joined the League One east London outfit permanently, it left me open-mouthed.
Over the past two months he has been our club’s number one keeper, albeit due to Ben Hamer picking up an injury, and his performances have been more than satisfactory.
His earlier exclusion from the squad for the trip to Middlesbrough on January 18 raised eyebrows, especially after his penalty-saving heroics in the previous league match at Ipswich earned us a invaluable point.
To be fair, it was later revealed Alnwick had in fact been struck down by illness on the morning of the game at the Riverside.
Even so, I felt even once Hamer had returned to fitness it would be extremely unfair if he automatically regained his position in the starting XI, that’s how impressed I had been with Alwnick’s performances.
Personally, I think we are weaker now than we were before the transfer window.
To get rid of established regulars as influential and with so much Championship knowhow as Kermorgant and Stephens, only to replace them with inexperienced players from the Belgian leagues and Dutch second division is a massive risk.
But if there is one manager who can gel a new-look side consisting of foreign imports and teenage youth academy graduates quickly then it is Chris Powell.
For 88 minutes on Saturday he organised a team of strangers and nullified the FA Cup holders, whose team still consists of a plethora of international footballers.
On Saturday, Birmingham will not have even half of Wigan’s individual and collective talent.
I’m confident of getting a result.
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