‘We believe we’ve agreed with a few’ – Charlton Athletic boss expects imminent incomings after goalkeeper signs

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NATHAN Jones wants the majority of his squad in place by the return to pre-season training – after Charlton Athletic unveiled goalkeeper Will Mannion as their first signing of the summer. 

Mannion, 26, is joining on a free transfer from Cambridge United on a three-year deal with an option of a further twelve months. 

Jones explained why Mannion was a transfer target. 

“He’s an experienced goalkeeper and we’re looking to improve every department over the summer in what is a big recruitment window for us,” Jones said on Charlton’s website. “We identified Will as a real good goalkeeper who has done fantastically well at Cambridge and he did well against us in the game that he played. He’s someone that’s a real good profile in terms of size, he’s on his way up, he’s really hungry and he wants to get to and play at a higher level. That’s what attracted us to him.

“He’ll provide real good competition to those who we bring into that department and obviously he brings a real talent to it.

“We want to improve the department. We’re looking to bring in two goalkeepers to have a real competitive edge to them and two we believe can play at not just this level, but also can play at the level above.”

Jones added: “We’d like to get the squad completed by our return date of June 27. We’ve worked tirelessly for the last three to four weeks in terms of arranging meetings with players. We’re trying to be bold in our recruitment. 

“I’m sure that by the time that we do get to the first day of pre-season, we’ll have the majority, if not all, of our squad in place. That’s so important because pre-season is a real big time, an important time to gel the squad and lay down certain things.

“We believe we’ve agreed with a few, so they should be announced in due course. But we try to keep everything in-house and quiet because all of the signings and all of the people we’re speaking to will have vast competition from higher leagues and a lot of the teams in our division.”

Charlton also expect to complete deals for Luke Berry and Josh Edwards. Jones anticipates a busy few weeks, but insists it is part of the long-term plan. 

He said: “What we don’t want to do is a big recruitment drive every year. We believe we’re going in a certain direction and those players we bring in now have to be able to not only do well for Charlton now, but be able to have the capacity to play at a higher level as well.

“It’s important to have a rest and do our due diligence now in terms of shaping the squad. It’s probably the toughest time – apart from results and stuff. For a manager it’s the busiest time. This last month has been manic, it’s been crazy in terms of the amount of meetings. I’ve been all over the country, I’ve been back and forth, I spend most of the time on the phone trying to get these meetings done. 

“But once you see the squad taking shape, once you see the significant improvement of the squad, then those are real good times and then the excitement starts to build to get back for those days when you can start working.”

Mannion, who is from Hillingdon, revealed it was difficult to turn down the move after he received a call from Jones. 

“It feels great to be here,” Mannion said. “When the manager called me, it definitely perked my ears up. 

“I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago and he sold the vision of the club and the vision for myself in terms of being involved. I’m excited for what may be this season.

“Coming back home [to London] and being with the family, it will be a proud moment to be stepping out at that stadium in front of them,” he explained.

“It’s obviously a proud fanbase, and full of voice. So I really can’t wait to get out at The Valley and see them all.” 

Mannion added: “It’s obviously a massive club – definitely not a club that should be in this league. 

“Collectively, the goal is to push for promotion. That was made clear when I spoke to the gaffer, and that’s something that drew me to the club, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do this season.” 


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