This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer faces a difficult task if he is to halt his side’s alarming descent down the Championship table, following another defeat at the weekend, a result that leaves the Addicks only five points clear of the relegation zone.
Bowyer is searching for recruits during the January transfer window with West Brom youngster Rekeen Harper a player that Bowyer is keen to try and bring to the Valley, according to the print edition of the Sun on Sunday (January 19, Page 65), though he will face competition, with a number of other Championship clubs reported to be interested.
So would Harper be a useful addition at Charlton and is he actually needed?
“This would be a fantastic bit of business for Lee Bowyer.
“We all know how short the Addicks are in key areas and the loss of Conor Gallagher has made finding a new midfielder a priority.
“And, whilst you can’t say Harper is the exact same player as the Chelsea loanee, he does have similar traits in that he can press well and get up the pitch quickly.
“Even though this season hasn’t gone to plan for the Albion youngster, you have to remember that he was playing regularly for a side that reached the play-offs last season, so he has shown he can thrive at this level.
“From the Baggies perspective, they know Harper would get game time at The Valley and this is a move that would suit all parties and could look like a shrewd addition for Charlton come May.”
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“One of the Championship’s brightest talents, but one who fans have seen way too little of this season. Harper has made just one league appearance for the Baggies all season, and now it looks like Slaven Bilic will loan him out for the second-half of the campaign.
“There’ll be a lot of competition to sign him, but Charlton could emerge as favourites – Lee Bowyer has quickly developed a reputation for bringing in younger players, and bettering them. The likes of Conor Gallagher (who they now need to replace), Albie Morgan and Alfie Doughty, three young players who Bowyer has made better this year.
“Harper would no doubt be a good singing for Charlton – they’ve been plagued with injuries this season and have been particularly low on numbers in the central areas. Someone like Harper would slot into that team nicely, and he’d surely get a good bit of game time at The Valley.
“He’s definitely needed at Charlton too, as stated above with Gallagher recently returning to Chelsea and ending up at Swansea, and with Charlton’s injury crisis showing no signs of slowing. Charlton looks like the best option for Harper, and Bowyer should move to make it happen.”
“This would be a great signing for Charlton given they are now in desperate need of midfield numbers following the departures of Conor Gallagher and Beram Kayal, while Harper is a high-quality player who will now be looking for more playing time.
“This means any potential move would be beneficial for both parties as Harper could enhance his development by playing regular football under Lee Bowyer, and he has the potential to become a key player in this Addicks side.
‘I think this would be a much better move for Harper than joining one of West Brom’s promotion rivals, and Harper should even push hard for the move to South London given it would almost guarantee him regular Championship minutes.
“The fact he has been restricted to just one Championship appearance so far this term suggests the Baggies have not deemed him good enough to compete in a promotion-challenging side at present, but he could be a good fit for a side in Charlton’s relegation-threatened predicament.”