Ademola Lookman transfer news: Chelsea and Manchester City to move for Charlton Athletic striker in bidding war

The Addicks sacked Karel Fraeye after their 5-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town on Tuesday

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The Independent Football

Charlton Athletic sank further into turmoil yesterday, making their fifth managerial change in two years as Manchester City and Chelsea prepared  to take advantage with bids for their star teenager Ademola Lookman.

Owner Roland Duchâtelet sacked Karel Fraeye yesterday after the team lost 5-0 at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night, a defeat which left them second from bottom in the Championship. 

Fraeye has been replaced by Nebojsa Vignjevic, a Serbian who had been coaching Ujpest, the Hungarian club Duchâtelet owns. Vignjevic is the sixth coach of the Belgian’s tenure.

The crisis at Charlton is likely to spark a race among Premier League clubs to sign 18-year-old Lookman, a striker widely thought to the best young prospect in the Championship. City and Chelsea head the queue, but Everton and Tottenham have also followed his progress and would compete in any auction.

Charlton insist they do not want to sell Lookman and they have not received a formal offer close to their valuation. But given their current plight, and the likelihood of relegation to League One, they would find it very difficult to turn down anything close to £5m.

There is almost no prospect of Charlton keeping hold of Lookman long-term, even if they do not sell him in this transfer window. Lookman has 18 months left on his professional deal, with an option for an extra year. Preferring to play either as a No 10 or on the left wing, he is Charlton’s joint-top scorer in the Championship, with three goals from just seven league starts.

Lookman did not play on Tuesday night in the defeat that ended Fraeye’s brief spell in charge. Charlton were so poor that the players agreed to refund their 166 travelling supporters. “On behalf of the players, I want to apologise,” captain Johnnie Jackson tweeted. “It was disgraceful and you deserve better.” 

Charlton have taken four points from nine Championship games and travel to Hull on Saturday hoping for their first win since 21 November.

Lookman is likely to be the most coveted English teenager of this transfer window, even ahead of Coventry City’s James Maddison. Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool have all watched Maddison, who would also cost close to £5m. Coventry, fourth in League One, hope that if they are promoted to the Championship they could ask for up to £9m for Maddison. 

Tottenham last night completed the signing of Ebbsfleet United’s 17-year-old midfielder Shilow Tracey.