While admitting that his own club would not have been able to resist advances from Chelsea, Sam Allardyce has attacked Charlton's decision to sell Scott Parker as shortsighted.
The Bolton manager argues that the £10m Charlton have received from Chelsea for the services of a man he describes as "the best young player in the Premiership" would be offset by the money they would lose by failing to qualify for the Champions' League. With Parker aboard, that was a real possibility. Selling him suggests that, deep down, Charlton did not believe they would finish in the fourth and final Champions' League place that they currently hold.
"Parker is destined for England and he has been for a long time," Allardyce reflected. "He has been at Charlton since the age of eight, but from an ambition point of view he wants to be in the Champions' League. We are going into the final throes of the season, with only 16 games left, and Charlton are in fourth. The Champions' League could be achievable for them, but how achievable is it now that Scott Parker's left? How much has that diminished Alan Curbishley's chances of getting into the Champions' League, which could easily bring you more than £10m? But Charlton did not want to take that risk."
Perhaps, given the way Curbishley's teams have fallen away in the final third of the season, that was understandable. According to his manager, Parker's refusal to hide his displeasure that Charlton were trying to block the move and his poor attitude in training meant that he had to be left out of the side who won at Everton two weeks ago.
Many at The Valley wondered whether, realistically, he could have played again, although Allardyce argued that, governed by football's harsh realities, Parker would have had little option but to pull on a red shirt had the Chelsea deal been resisted. "Once the transfer deadline was over, he would have had to play. They [Charlton] could have stuck it out. Parker would have had to go back into the team or he would have been slaughtered."
Parker will assuredly not be at The Valley today, and Allardyce may not be either. Directing his side against Charlton, he argues, is less important than securing one of the three new players he hopes to bring to the Reebok Stadium by Monday when the transfer window closes. He will stay in the North-west as long as required.
Steve Howey has been recruited from Leicester until the end of the season. Delroy Facey and Jon Walters, fringe players at Bolton, have been unloaded to West Bromwich and Hull, respectively, to create some revenue for squad strengthening which, in spite of their healthy Premiership position, Allardyce believes is badly required. Dwight Pezzarossi, a Guatemalan striker who, at 24, has already plied his trade in four countries, is being considered, but Allardyce admits he is probably "only a makeweight".
Short-term injuries to Simon Charlton, Youri Djorkaeff and Kevin Davies plus the long-term absences of Florent Laville and Ricardo Gardner, have created what Allardyce terms "a desperate state. My fear is that we don't have enough to carry through to the end. We have a problem if the squad diminishes through injury or suspension because the reserves are not good enough".
"News of a two-week winter break is music to my ears," he said. "I am determined that the January transfer window cannot detract from my time as much as it has done in the past. Negotiations have gone on in spurts. Now, with three days to go, the need for new players has become more important than the game on Saturday."
- More about:
- Bolton Wanderers
- Charlton Athletic
- Chelsea F.c.
- Premier League
- Sam Allardyce
- West Ham United