While the January transfer window could be considered a success for Charlton Athletic, possibly the most important arrival came once it had closed.
Nathan Jones’ appointment as manager, replacing Michael Appleton on a long-term deal, can be seen as the last piece of the Addicks’ jigsaw for new owners Global Football Partners (GFP).
Yet even before Jones’ arrival, the board had made a conscious decision to invest heavily in the squad, making a number of shrewd permanent signings for fees, whilst also securing loan deals for players with strong League One pedigree.
Joining permanently from Huddersfield, versatile defender Rarmani Edmonds-Green was part of Rotherham’s 2021/22 League One promotion-winning team but has struggled to cement his place at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Similarly, loanees Freddie Ladapo and Tyreeq Bakinson have fallen down the pecking order at Championship sides Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday after having previously been key components of their respective sides’ promotion campaigns.
Forward Ladapo brings a physicality and a finishing ability that complements Alfie May as injuries to Chuks Aneke and Miles Leaburn has often seen Charlton’s main striker isolated as the lone striker this season.
Meanwhile, Bakinson brings athleticism and a forward-thinking mindset which will mean the Addicks are less reliant on inexperienced youngsters such as Karoy Anderson to fill midfield gaps.
Much of Charlton’s woes this season has also been their inability to keep clean sheets, having the second lowest in the division (three) with the problem exacerbated by the long-term injury of Michael Hector.
Macaulay Gillesphey arrival from last season’s League One champions Plymouth Argyle is hoped to offset this, bringing much-needed experience and leadership to the back line with the aim of eradicating the defensive disorganisation and lack of game management.
Free agent right-back Thierry Small has also been added to the defence alongside Kayne Ramsay, another permanent signing for a fee from Harrogate town while goalkeeper Lewis Ward has been brought in as cover and competition for the questionable Ashley Maynard-Brewer.
However, the biggest statement of intent is the signing of highly-rated midfielder Conor Coventry from West Ham United, fresh from helping the Hammers win the UEFA Conference League and also having EFL experience on loan at MK Dons and Rotherham.
With George Dobson’s likely departure in the summer as his contract comes to an end, Coventry’s arrival on a three-and-a-half year contract can be seen as a ready-made replacement for the midfield lynchpin.
There has been a number of outgoings as well – high earner and underperformer Scott Fraser departing on loan to Scottish Premiership outfit Hearts and Charlie Kirk, who failed to establish himself during his two-and-a-half years at the club, has had his contract terminated by mutual consent.
Injury-prone Conor McGrandles has also returned to former club Lincoln City on loan while Sam Walker has joined League Two Bradford after failing to stake a claim for the goalkeeper’s jersey.
The most significant departure of the month was that of Corey Blackett-Taylor to League One promotion contenders Derby County though – initially on a loan which is set to become a permanent transfer in the summer.
Whilst Charlton have added a finisher to their attack in Ladapo, the explosive winger will be sorely missed for his ability to penetrate defences by beating men with his footwork and pace.
Nevertheless, the business has been positive overall and comes at a time when poor form has seen the side teeter above the relegation zone with late goals appearing a prerequisite for many of their recent defeats.
Jones’ first priority will be to galvanise a squad which has had a high turnover of players into a cohesive unit with a clear identity of how to be defensively solid whilst also capable of effectively getting the ball up to the likes of Alfie May and Freddie Ladapo quickly.
And with the next two games, away to Reading and home to Lincoln, perfect opportunities to create some breathing space between Charlton and the bottom four, it is imperative Jones imposes his ideas on his new look squad without delay.