This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand…
Charlton Athletic make the trip to Wigan on Saturday following an impressive and somewhat unexpected start to their return to the second tier of English football that sees them third in the current Championship standings, having taken four wins and two draws from their opening seven league games of the season.
By contrast their hosts on Saturday are 21st in the early table, only outside the relegation zone on goal difference and without a win since the opening day of the season.
Yet it seems as though things could have been all so different for two players the Addicks will face on Saturday, after Charlton manager Lee Bowyer recently admitted that he would have been interested in signing striker Kieffer Moore and winger Jamal Lowe during the summer transfer window, had he had the funds to do so.
As it was, both players ultimately made the move to Wigan, with Moore joining from Barnsley for a reported £4million, while securing the services of Lowe from Portsmouth is said to have cost the Lancashire side somewhere in the region of £2.5million.
Given that Charlton were restricted largely to free transfers and loan signings throughout the summer transfer window, stepping up to part with that sort of money to sign the pair would have been a significant increase in expenditure for the Addicks.
The fact therefore that they did not initially elect to do so, may well have caused something of an element of frustration around The Valley, when you look at how Moore and Lowe performed last season.
While Lowe was able to score 15 goals and provide eight assists from the wing to help Pompey reach the League One play-offs – which were won by Charlton, ironically – Moore was able to go one better, with the striker finding the net 17 times, and providing three assists, as Barnsley won automatic promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
But while it may have seemed as though that would have made the pair useful additions this season, the stats so far in the Championship seem to suggest that that may not have been the case.
Who wins this weekend, Charlton or Wigan?
With Wigan struggling at the wrong end of the table, both Moore and Lowe have so far yet to really get going at second-tier level, with the duo both yet to get on the scoresheet themselves this season, while Lowe has provided just a solitary assist, as Paul Cook’s side have hit the net just six times in seven games so far this season.
By comparison, Charlton are already benefitting from what are looking to be some relative bargains from the past couple of years.
In midfield, for example, 19-year-old Conor Gallagher, plucked on a season-long loan from Chelsea’s academy side, is enjoying a spectacular start to life in senior football, having scored three league goals and assisted one more already this season.
Upfront meanwhile, Lyle Taylor, who was signed on a free from AFC Wimbledon last summer and helped fire the Addicks to promotion the following season, has already hit five goals in his first campaign at second-tier level, leaving him joint top of the scoring standings in the division.
Admittedly, with Taylor facing some time on the sidelines due to injury, it does seem as though Charlton could do with an extra attacking option right now, although Moore’s record means you could argue that he may not be the best man to fill that particular role anyway.
It seems, therefore, that while it may not have been the news Charlton wanted to hear at the time of the duo’s moves to The DW Stadium, right now, the money they elected not to spend on Moore and Lowe, is looking as though it may well turn out to be £6.5million well saved.