Charlton Athletic winger and Celtic summer target Alfie Doughty has picked up a nasty hamstring injury that manager Lee Bowyer described as something that “doesn’t look good at all”.
Doughty was the subject of one of Celtic’s summer sagas as the Hoops had several offers rejected for his services (London News Online). In the end, the club decided to bring in Diego Laxalt on loan until the end of the season, with Doughty into the final year of his Charlton contract.
The Herald reported earlier this month that Celtic are set to wait until January and attempt to secure him on a pre-contract, but it looks as though he’s suffered a blow that could keep him out until then.
And after he came off midway through the second half of Saturday’s win at Northampton Town, Charlton boss Bowyer confirmed that he’s set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
As quoted by London News Online, Bowyer said: “It doesn’t look good at all. I’m not going to go into too much detail but from what I understand, he’s going to be out for a while.
“I don’t know how long but it’s not good. Obviously, he was running flat out in the game on the weekend and someone nudged him in the back. It’s quite similar to that Stephy Mavididi. Do you remember when Stephy was here and the fella gave him a nudge from behind.
“He ended up doing his hamstring then. It’s quite similar to that, he was in his full stride and the fella has nudged him. His body tried to adjust and that’s how he’s done it.”
Will injury cause Celtic to hold off?
What an absolute gut-wrencher this is for Doughty. For a player who will have been well aware of the summer speculation surrounding his future, impressing between now and January would’ve surely been an absolute priority for him.
Instead, he could easily be sitting on the sidelines until then if it’s a bad tear. Bowyer’s words pretty much confirm he won’t be back anytime soon, and that could perhaps throw any January interest up in the air.
The Hoops have never been one to jump in and sign up talents when they’re crocked. It could be the case that the club looks to see how Doughty reacts to his injury before offering him anything concrete.
However, there is an obvious risk attached to that. Doughty is available to speak to absolutely anyone who wants him from January onwards. The longer Celtic wait, the likelier it becomes he signs elsewhere or perhaps is even persuaded to sign a new deal with Charlton.
So the injury doesn’t exactly help us either. Celtic would almost certainly have been monitoring Doughty’s progress between now and January before launching a move. That’s now been taken away from us.
Celtic have a decision to make when the time comes, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the hamstring injury holds back.