BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Leyton Orient striker Macauley Bonne kicked off Charlton Athletic’s summer transfer activity when he joined yesterday – and he is the first cash signing made by manager Lee Bowyer.
The striker, 23, has penned a three-year deal and has cost in the region of £200,000.
It is understood that Bonne had a buyout clause in his contract. And the National League side will have to pass a significant chunk of the money on to his former club Colchester United, who negotiated a hefty sell-on when he left in 2017.
The Zimbabwe international scored 44 goals for Orient in two seasons – last season’s haul of 23 helping them win the National League title.
It is the first time that Bowyer has paid a transfer fee for a player.
Charlton are working on other deals and are keen on Bristol Rovers defender Tom Lockyer, who is a free agent next month.
They would also move in a flash to take Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah on loan. But the Lewisham-born 20-year-old is hot property and looks set for either a top Championship side or even a temporary move abroad to further his development.
Charlton have strong links with the Gunners and Krystian Bielik’s season-long stay in SE7 was a huge success. But there is heavy interest from other clubs in England’s second tier for the Polish U21 international.
The Bonne deal gets the Addicks off and running – and bumps up their contracted list of players to 12 for next season.
David Victor, who covers Orient for BBC London, said: “He’ll leave a huge gap at the O’s – absolutely massive.
“They wouldn’t have got promoted without his 23 goals last season.
“He is a game-changer. If he was to come off the bench then I would expect him to make a difference. His goalscoring tally is impressive but his goals-to-chances ratio isn’t so good.
“If it was more money then it would be a risk. He misses a few, and that’s probably the difference between the Championship and National League. You know in the National League another chance will come along – the difference is you won’t get so many chances in the Championship. That would be my concern.
“He’s absolutely superb from the penalty spot, he only missed one for Orient. He scored one against Sutton towards the end of last season in the third minute of additional time – it was a game they needed to win – and that showed what a cool character he is. Bonne loves low crosses and likes the ball to feet and so he can run on to it. He works incredibly hard and makes space for others.”
PICTURE BY CHARLTON ATHLETIC FC