If you haven't seen, Rangers have been linked with a move for Diego Poyet, ostensibly as a replacement for the recently-patched Joseph Anthony Barton. The young midfielder, son of Gus, has been tipped for very great things and burst onto the scene at Charlton. Since then, he got a move to West Ham, where things haven't quite worked for him, even when loaned back to his original club.
Accordingly, we sat down and spoke to IRL Charlton fan David Norris (who is also a former classmate of Poyet, don't say we don't land the big interviews) to see what the script is.
GTBFO: So, Diego Poyet. He was tipped for great things, but was he really that good the first time round? You used to have Jonjo Shelvey as a youngster, was he at the same sort of level?
DN: He was outstanding when he first came into the team as an eighteen year old. He won the Player of the Season Award despite only making his first team debut in January (and being younger than the Young Player of the Season Award winner). He looked a class above the rest of the team.
In regards to comparisons to Jonjo Shelvey, Shelvey was younger and playing in a different role, ie wherever he wanted, and Poyet was sat in front of the back four. It’s hard to compare the two, but considering Poyet was playing at a higher standard and putting in more consistent performances, I think it would be fair to say he was at a similar level, if not better.
GTBFO: What would you say his best (and worst) attributes are?
DN: Well, based on his first spell with us: he did the simple things very well. He had a natural knack for always having time on the ball. His passing, albeit fairly simple (side-to-side, nothing fancy), was very good, and his tackling was superb. 0:55 on this video is a great challenge on Onuoha.
In regards to weaknesses during his first spell, it is difficult to pinpoint any. This is because he knew what he was good at, and stuck to his strengths. If you were being greedy, you could want him to add more attacking passes to his game, but then that wasn’t what he was there to do.
GTBFO: After losing his form at West Ham, he was loaned back to you. How was he the second time around?
DN: He looked a completely different player. Whereas previously he was always looking for the ball, in his second spell he seemed to be invisible. His ability to tackle also seemed to have vanished. It was sad to see how much he had regressed in a season-and-a-half.
GTBFO: Were there any traces that he still had some serious talent and potential in the second spell, or was it all miserable?
DN: In all honesty, no. He was very poor. In his defence however, he joined us for the second time in January 2016, and he hadn’t been playing regular first-team football since the end of the 2013/14 season. His confidence seemed to be very low and when he joined he was playing under the out-of-his-depth Karel Fraeye (Google him if you’re not familiar, his previous job was in the Belgian third tier) and the team was at its lowest point during a shambles of a season. It was hardly the best atmosphere for a player low on confidence to regain his form. Why he barely featured when Jose Riga returned however, who he had finished the 13/14 season under, is a mystery.
GTBFO: We were about to ask you if you would take him back, although we note that your club is a total shambles which appears to be functioning in no coherent way whatsoever (solidarity there, by the way. Shite, int it?) Nonetheless - would you take him back? If everything else around the club were rosy?
DN: Appreciate the solidarity, big up Salim Kerkar. I would, yes, although I’m very much in the minority amongst Charlton fans in that respect. Poyet’s decision to reject a new contract and join West Ham on a free in the summer of 2014 made him massively unpopular with the supporters. He wasn’t exactly welcomed back with open arms by fans in January. However, whilst joining West Ham was a poor choice, I can’t begrudge him wanting to leave. I can’t blame a player for looking at the start of Roland Duchatelet’s reign at Charlton Athletic and saying, “fuck this, I’m off.”
Obviously I wanted him to stay, and I think he would have done under different owners and if Chris Powell was still in charge, but I don’t hold any resentment towards him. Perhaps I’m biased though because he was nice to me at school, who knows? I’d 100% take him back though. Form is temporary, class is permanent, and playing regular first team football would give him a chance to get back to his best. Plus, there’s no question it would be better to see him in the middle of the park than watching Andrew Crofts or Kevin Foley try and run faster than the referee.
So, there you are. Mark Warburton seems to have a stauner for players who have gone off the rails and he believes he can get back on track, so hopefully he can get something out of young Poyet.
Thanks again to David Norris, who you can follow on Twitter.
What are your thoughts on Poyet?