All signs pointed to a positive end in the Cedric Evina contract saga.
After turning down a new one-year deal earlier on in the summer, the former Arsenal left back shocked many by reporting to pre-season training at Charlton’s Sparrows Lane complex.
Amidst reports Wolverhampton Wanderers were set to snap him up, Evina took to the field in the second half of the Addicks’ first pre-season friendly; a 5-0 win over Welling United.
Those who thought they’d seen the last of the young prospect in a Charlton shirt were forced to revaluate their ideas; it appeared contract discussions had reignited.
However, as is often the case, the words of an inpatient agent extinguished the hopes of Evina re-signing for the Addicks. Speaking to Sky Sports on Tuesday, Evina’s representative, Saif Rube, dramatically claimed his client had been “left in no man’s land’ after Charlton apparently withdrew their contract offer.
Rube’s follow up comment, that they “are now looking for another club for Cedric and he is training on his own to maintain his fitness so that he is ready to go straight into a new club,” seemed to put beyond any doubt that Evina will be moving on.
It didn’t seem right. Evina’s desire to participate in pre-season suggested a deal was close, or at least Evina was willing to hang around in order to thrash out a compromise that suited both parties. Why would Charlton withdraw their contract offer?
A twist to the already twisted contract negotiations came on Wednesday. Depending on who you believe, it would appear Evina’s agent wasn’t speaking the truth, or at least misjudged the situation. A press release issued by the club on Charlton’s official website claimed a deal still remained on the table for the defender. It also explained negotiations had broken down after not being too far away from an agreement, leading to Evina missing the flight to Spain with his Charlton teammates for a pre-season training camp.
According to the club, Evina has since been training at Sparrows Lane with the U21s, and manager Chris Powell still holds hopes that a deal can be agreed.
Speaking to the official website, Powell stated: “There’s been a lot of toing and froing but Ceddy has come back this summer and trained really well... he’s training with the club and I for one am still hopeful it can be resolved.”
Who do you believe and where do your sympathies lie? The agent who is growing tired of his client not getting the terms he feels Evina deserves, or the club who are being held to ransom by a greedy agent?
Evina turned down the initial contract on the basis that it was just a year’s extension; he wanted two. I fear now that the main stumbling block is a financial one.
Whilst Evina is a talented young player, as shown when called upon last season, the club shouldn’t be forced to pay more in wages than they feel they should for a second choice left back.
With Morgan Fox impressing in the title winning development squad last season, he may well be ready to make the step up and act as cover for Rhoys Wiggins, softening the blow of potentially losing Evina.
The “toing and froing” will no doubt continue in the weeks to come, but hopefully a resolution that pleases all parties will be found.
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