BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Lee Bowyer has revealed that Erhun Oztumer was ready to sign for Charlton Athletic on transfer deadline day – only for the move to collapse when Bolton Wanderers could not land a replacement.
The Addicks chief also confirmed that Bristol City’s Mo Eisa was a prime target. But again the Championship club were unable to make a signing of their own to free up the striker for a loan move.
Charlton did take Gillingham’s Josh Parker on a short-term permanent switch until the summer.
But they failed to bring in the kind of firepower to replace 14-goal Karlan Grant, who joined Huddersfield Town in a £2million deal last Wednesday.
Oztumer, 27, was at Bolton’s ground on Thursday as he waited for the green light to sign.
“I feel sorry for the lad,” said Charlton boss Bowyer. “He was at the ground to sign the papers.
“Because there was no number nine available, we went for the best number 10 who scores goals.
“In the last couple of seasons he has scored 15 goals and got 10 assists in both of them.
“We had a back-up plan which all went pear-shaped. It was reliant on Bolton bringing in Ched Evans – who then scored against us at the weekend!
“The kid was gutted. We had it all lined up but it didn’t go our way.
“He [Eisa] was one we were looking to bring in. Bristol were trying hard to bring someone in. There was a Championship club trying to take him as well but he said he wanted to come here, we were his first choice.
“He would’ve been a good replacement for Karlan in terms of the similarities between the two of them, but it just didn’t happen.
“I think they were trying to go for Scott Hogan, who ended up at Sheffield United. They were trying and trying, but couldn’t get anyone in.”
It left Bowyer desperately short of options for Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Fleetwood Town. Top-scorer Lyle Taylor serves the final match of his suspension against Southend this weekend.
“We had Igor [Vetokele] on the bench and he has only played 45 minutes since he dislocated his shoulder,” said Bowyer. “It was Reeco Hackett-Fairchild’s first start and Josh only trained on Friday.
“We were light – there is no hiding it. We’ll have the same problem this weekend.
“This is the hand we’ve been dealt and we’ve got to get on with it. There is no point crying over split milk – it is what it is, we can’t change it now.
“But we’ll also look at people who are out of contract as well and see if anyone has come available since the window closed. But I don’t think there is much out there, if I’m honest. There is no point bringing a body, in just for the sake of it.
“We had identified the best ones out there but we were reliant on the other clubs and unfortunately they had the same problem – they couldn’t release a striker until they had brought one in.
“To be honest, we were lucky to bring Josh in. He became available only a day or two before the end of the window.”