Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Most Wanted; Scott Parker: Charlton's Unlikely England Star Is Next on Abramovich Shopping List

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Most Wanted; Scott Parker: Charlton's Unlikely England Star Is Next on Abramovich Shopping List

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL HART

IT SAYS much for Charlton Athletic's blossoming status as a Premiership club that Scott Parker must now be considered a serious contender for a place in the England squad for the European Championship in June.

Parker has been one of the Premier League's most consistent midfielders this season and his recent form wins him The Evening Standard Footballer of the Month award for December.

Others have also noticed his level of commitment in the past month, his growing confidence, the authority in his tackling and the vision in his passing.

It was hardly a surprise when Chelsea cast envious eyes towards The Valley where Alan Curbishley, at minimal cost, has patiently assembled a team good enough to beat Roman Abramovich's all-stars 4-2 on Boxing Day.

Charlton rejected Chelsea's initial [pounds sterling]6million offer but, football finances being what they are these days, Abramovich will probably up his bid until it reaches a figure Charlton can't refuse.

The loss of the injured Juan Veron, possibly for the rest of the season, gives Chelsea's new bid an urgent edge.

Parker has also become unsettled by this week's developments, creating further problems for the club who nurtured him.

Charlton would probably accept around [pounds sterling]8m-[pounds sterling]10m and will hope that by holding out they will get what they want.

Curbishley would like to keep the player who began training with Charlton at the age of nine and became a subject of national fascination at 13 when he did his ball juggling tricks in a TV advert. Parker recently signed a five-year contract and has often expressed his gratitude to Curbishley and Charlton.

A transfer to a club such as Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United would be seen as a career-enhancing move by most players, but that is not always the case. Parker is practically guaranteed a first-team place at Charlton.

There are no such certainties at Chelsea.

Adding to the dilemma for players from smaller clubs in recent years is the belief that Sven-Goran Eriksson selects his squads almost exclusively from Champions League teams. …

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