I had never heard of Fredrik Ulvestad until his name came up yesterday alongside many others in Russell Slade’s efforts to bring in another much needed central midfielder. Slade added: “He’ll add a different dimension to us. He’s different to what we have got,” which hopefully means he is mobile, can pass the ball forward and can take a player on.
With free agent Chicksen added the day before but only replacing Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, just Ulvestad was added to Slade’s squad when he had been saying he needed three or four more since the beginning of August. And with Alou Diarra going today, it is another man down, and in my mind when suspensions and injuries come a knocking, I worry that we have a squad that can be in contention at the top half of the table.
The fact is that once again Meire and Duchatelet have left it too late. They had the pick of Ajose, Novak and Holmes early in the summer, which was good work, but once again we are left fishing in murky shallow waters on the afternoon of deadline day after more players had left. Who knows how far Ulvestad was down Slade’s list. Yet the Norwegian will be expected to carry a lot of our creative play along with Holmes.
I would assume the fact that Ba and Teixeira weren’t able to be moved on, and I believe in Ba’s case refused to have his contract terminated, hindered Slade in both time and available budget. Of course why they were both given such long and lucrative contracts is sheer incompetence from Meire.
However between now and January both can still become key squad members, especially Teixeira. In Ba’s case we may question his commitment to the club, and with Tex making it 6 centre back’s, it leaves the squad horribly unbalanced, as it has been since Duchatelet walked in with his philosophy of churning players and head coaches and managers. On that note it is understood that the chief scout appointed, somewhat surprisingly, by Meire before she appointed Slade is soon to depart. You couldn’t make it up.
How much money Duchatelet has wasted on offloading poor signings on loan and paying off staff is incredulous. The mastermind who thought he could beat the system and make money out of the game. Beyond parody.
Beyond parody and Charlton have been used in the same sentence a lot in recent times, and today I think Addicks everywhere sat mouth open at their computer screens, not least the club’s communications team, when they announced that Alou Diarra’s contract had been cancelled at the player’s request so he could return back to France to be close to his family. It was even suggested that he may stop playing and start doing his coaching badges.
Then just half an hour later AS Nancy announce the signing of the Frenchman. It will be interesting to see when Diarra starts, as he is supposed to injured. He was clearly seen training today in that picture on the AS Nancy website.
I liked Diarra though. He was often a beacon of calmness and skill in a disordered and chaotic season and a bit at The Valley. I wish him well.
Credit is worthy though in that Meire and Duchatelet refused to sell Ade Lookman, with Palace offering £4.5m for the teenager. Sheffield Wednesday also made 3 bids to buy Morgan Fox. Lookman to Palace and selling another left back would just about tipped Addicks over the edge, and although keeping both is great news, I still feel that the club have failed Slade this window making his ambitions of promotion more difficult.
Lastly Karlan Ahearne-Grant has signed a contract extension to 2019. Let’s hope he makes it.