Charlton closing in on strikers
Charlton closing in on strikers

Football is a 12 months a year business these days. There is no such thing as a close season anymore.

Before one season has ended, managers are working on assembling their squads for the following season.

Charlton’s Head of Recruitment, Steve Gallen, gave a fascinating insight into how the Addicks operate in a recent interview with the club site.

Gallen revealed that bringing in three strikers was the club’s priority, that they were closing in on their first two signings of the summer, with two more not far behind:

‎“Lee and I have been talking all the way through, over the last few months, that when we get to this stage, the first signings, if we can, will be forwards.

“We’ve lost a lot. Josh Parker has left us and I have to say he really helped particularly in the play-off games. Nicky Ajose, Igor Vetokele, Billy Clarke and Karlan Grant have all left, so that’s five that have gone out.

“We’re going to try and replace those lads. Lee is very keen for two players in every position and obviously we’ve gone up a division, so it is going to be very competitive.

“To even compete with teams we’re going to have to try and have four strikers. We’ve got Lyle, he’s been unbelievable for us but really we’ve got to try and get three others in through the door.

“Then of course, we’ve got a few other positions throughout the squad to strengthen up but we are working on it and we have been for a few months now.”

Gallen has five part time scouts scattered across the country, and like‎ Lee Bowyer, he is keen to do early business. He continued:

‎”It’s got to the stage where we got the final game out of the way where we can start making offers.

“We’ve made an offer to a club to sign a player and some of the offers we’re making are on players who are free transfers.

“In the last couple of weeks, there has been lots of phone calls, lots of meetings with agents and players.

“This is partly for the manager, to meet the player and see what he thinks about them but also for the player and agent to meet us.

“I think when it comes to the meeting with Lee and I, we are at the final stages, we’ve done our homework and our research – watched, analysed and then it comes to getting a feel for each other.

“I would hope, fingers crossed, that we’ll have a couple of signings in soon. There are a couple more I’m getting close to as well. I think everyone is aware that we need to bring a few in because we’ve let a few go.

“We’re getting closer but I don’t want to give a time because I don’t want to disappoint people.”

Squad building comes in two phases – permanent signings, supplemented by loan signings, usually  from higher tier clubs.

The Addicks done well in the loan market last summer, with Krystian Bielik from Arsenal, and Josh Cullen from West Ham proving to be outstanding successes.

But acquring losn signings requires patience, as parent clubs will have to formulate their own squads before deciding which players they are willing to loan out.

The loan market is a two way street though, Bielik and Cullen for example, would have gained valuable experience from playing regularly.

This helps to establish a rapport between clubs, and Charlton have probably already had preliminary discussions‎ with Arsenal and West Ham about possible loanees for the fothcoming season:

‎”With regards to the loan market, we were pretty successful last year, if you look at Krystian Bielik, Josh Cullen and Ben Purrington who played a lot of games for us.

“Jed Steer earlier in the year too. We’ll look at the loans a little bit later, not so many clubs will be keen on loaning a player out today or tomorrow.

“Players like Josh and Krystian will go back to their clubs for pre-season and be looking to convince their managers that they should be in their first team squads.

“Clubs will then make a decision later in the window with players like that.

“We’ve had conversations with some of the clubs we’ve worked with before to try and tee up maybe one or two potential loans but that will be later in July to be honest,” said Gallen.

Football never sleeps, and even when they are on holiday, managers and those responsible for recruiting players, will still be constantly on their phones.