This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Using the loan market well can be a key factor in getting promoted from the Championship, as shown by Aston Villa last season.
The side from Villa Park managed to acquire the likes of Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham and Anwar El Ghazi on loan deals.
These players and others who joined on a temporary basis eventually helped Villa to the play-off final, which they used as a springboard to elevate themselves into the promised land of the Premier League.
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Charlton Athletic will be hoping that their own use of the loan market can help them reach a similar destination. Even if the aim of reaching England’s top tier doesn’t come to fruition, there’s no doubt they have already benefited from it.
The Addicks’ two most important loan acquisitions in the summer were arguably Josh Cullen and Conor Gallagher, two players who signed from Premier League sides West Ham United and Chelsea respectively.
While there is also Brighton & Hove Albion’s Beram Kayal, who is joined by West Bromwich Albion duo Sam Field and Jonathan Leko.
Charlton currently sit 12th in the table, six points off the play-off spots and their loanees have definitely played a part so far.
There is Gallagher, who already has 5 goals and an assist from midfield, Cullen, whose statistics include 1.9 tackles, 1.5 key passes and 1.5 clearances per game, as well as Leko with his 3 goals and 2 assists.
To show how integral Bowyer has seen them, the first of those two names have 15 starts this season, while Leko has 12.
By moving to the loan market, they managed to recruit players that simply wouldn’t have been available to them otherwise, while the majority of their other signings came in on free transfers.
This shows both their resourcefulness and lack of financial power, though the only issue is that they may have to do exactly the same thing again next season due to Roland Duchatelet’s stringent attitude towards player spending.
Shortly after taking over at the club, Duchatelet claimed: “Throwing money at players and so forth, that is definitely not the strategy here,” and it’s fair to say, much to the frustration of Charlton supporters, that he has stayed true to his word.
They may be harbouring hope that Cullen will be available on a free, as his current West Ham contract comes to an end in the summer, but his form could yet attract interest from a more coveted destination.
Charlton’s use of the loan market has been effective so far this season, but they will likely need to do it all over again next season if they are to sustain their level.