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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 13 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 21, 2007

Charlton swoop for Iwelumo and Varney

Charlton have begun preparations for life without Darren Bent by signing strikers Luke Varney and Chris Iwelumo.

The Addicks, who were relegated from the Barclays Premiership three weeks ago, are willing to sell Bent for around £15million with West Ham, Tottenham and Liverpool leading the chase for the England marksman.

In anticipation of Bent's departure, boss Alan Pardew has moved swiftly to recruit two of the most prolific forwards in the Football League.

Varney arrives from Crewe Alexandra on a four-year contract for an initial fee of £2million that could rise to £2.5million depending on appearances.

The 24-year-old scored 25 goals for the League One outfit this season, including the strike that forced extra time against Manchester United in the Carling Cup last October.

'Luke is an exciting young talent who perfectly fits the mould of a Charlton player,' Pardew told the club's official website. 'He's diligent, intelligent, quick and a player who is going to get even better.

'We've beaten off stiff competition from both Championship and Premiership clubs to sign him - and I'd like to thank the board for backing my judgement on him.'

Towering marksman Iwelumo joins on a free transfer from Colchester after seeing out his contract at Layer Road.

The 28-year-old has negotiated a three-year deal after scoring 18 goals for Colchester last term and will link-up once again with Pardew's number two Phil Parkinson, who signed him for the U's in 2005

'Chris has a great goalscoring record. The fact he's a free transfer because he's out of contract represents a fantastic bit of business for the club,' said Pardew.

'He's at the prime of his career and is a big target man. In the Championship you have to have a player of that type. He's got better every year and I hope that improvement continues under myself and Phil Parkinson here at Charlton.'

Dutch striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink left The Valley at the end of the season after being released, leaving Marcus Bent as Charlton's only front-line forward until today's signings.

The Addicks were relegated following their 2-0 defeat by Tottenham and Pardew revealed there will more new arrivals as he targets an immediate return to the top flight.

'I'm sure the signings of Luke and Chris will excite Charlton fans and I'm hoping to announce more as we go through the summer,' he said.