In a relatively subdued transfer window for Huddersfield Town, Town’s second signing of the window and the first of the Jan Siewert era is Charlton Athletic forward Karlan Grant.
Like our scout reports in the past, this gives you an insight into who Grant is, his career up to now and what to expect from him.
Who is Karlan Grant?
Grant was born in Greenwich, a stones throw away from The Valley. He joined Charlton Athletic’s prestigious academy at the age of 12 and quickly rose through the ranks.
As top-scorer for Charlton Athletic Under 18’s despite still being a schoolboy, Grant found himself fast-tracked into Charlton’s Under 23 side.
Soon enough, Grant found himself in a unique position where he was a level above the development side but wasn’t quite ready for first team action with Charlton.
To further his development, Karlan Grant was sent on loan to Crawley Town, a move which with the aid of hindsight, was the making of him.
With an opportunity to play in his preferred position, Grant seized it. With the backing of Harry Kewell and a run of games, Grant proved his proficiency in front of goal.
Joining in the second half of the season, Grant was on fine form, scoring nine goals in fifteen appearances.
It proved to be a spell of form which he carried into this current 2018/2019 season.
With the backing of Lee Bowyer and the promising partnership forged with Lyle Taylor, Grant continued his goal-scoring form, albeit at a higher level.
In just twenty eight League 1 games, Grant scored fourteen times and supplied five assists.
This run of form over a prolonged period of time began to attract attention from a number of clubs, both in the Championship and the Premier League.
However, Huddersfield Town won the race.
With the news of a potential move on the cards, I spoke to a Charlton fan who opted to remain anonymous. He spoke of Grant’s reinvention of the past two seasons:
“Before his loan move to Crawley last season, there wasn’t much faith in him at all. There were groans when he was introduced off the bench, which was where much of his playing time came under Karl Robinson’s management. More often than not, they were justified.
“Though it certainly didn’t help that he was almost exclusively played out of position out wide, you only need to look at his goal-scoring record to see a reflection of that.
“But playing time, in a central position at Crawley has reinvented him. He’s a totally different player this season after his goal-scoring loan in mentality as much as ability.
“Quality has appeared; effective pace, goal-scoring, strength, movement – an all-round striker basically. That quality has appeared because of a huge increase in his confidence and decision-making.
“I would suggest that has come from the Crawley move, from Lee Bowyer putting faith in him and making him his starting forward from the start of the season and his partnership with Lyle Taylor (the two have linked up superbly).
“So much so that a big part of his game is coming out wide, collecting the ball and either delivering or driving inside – the role he looked incapable of performing last season in part because of his decision-making.
“Despite his goal-scoring record, his finishing could do with some improvement. He’s wasted quite a few good chances this season but that actually only reinforces his change in mentality.
“Against Shrewsbury two weekends ago his movement was marvellous. He won the ball for himself time and time again and drove forward with it in a really threatening way but he missed at least three very clear one-on-ones. He kept going and had the confidence to take and convert a penalty.
“Speaking of penalties, the composure to convert the stoppage-time winner (against Accrington Stanley) amid chaos was superb.
“In summary, he’s good.”
Will Grant be a success at Town?
With the focus turning primarily to the future and the long-term sustainability of the club, the signing of Karlan Grant matches that ambition.
At the age of 21, Karlan Grant does not arrive at the club as the complete package but under the tutelage of Jan Siewert, Grant has been presented with the opportunity to grow and develop.
Considering the expected high turnover of players in the summer and with the likely departure of Laurent Depoitre back to Belgium and potentially the departure of Steve Mounié too, Karlan Grant may have seen an opportunity to perform at a much higher level.
Grant joins a relatively youthful squad. Siewert will aim to grow and mature this squad in a much longer Championship next season.
Jan Siewert will look to add extra intelligence to his game which will match his physical qualities and new-found mental strength.
If Siewert can instil a decisiveness in Grant’s decision-making in the final third and add more composure in front of goal, the reported £2 million fee will look a steal.
What appears important is that Grant is played in his preferred position. His transformation from a bit-part player to a starting forward came simply from a change in position.
Whilst Grant’s style of play may see him drift wide and drive inside, for him to be most effective, he first needs to played centrally.
The other significant take-away from his miraculous turn around in perception and form is that he, like most strikers, is a confidence player that needs to be carefully nurtured.
It is yet to be seen if Karlan Grant will join Town from the off or whether he will be loaned back to Charlton Athletic for the remainder of the campaign to help in their promotion push in an environment where he has already scored fourteen goals this season.
If he is not in the immediate plans of Siewert, it would make sense to allow him to feature as the central figure in a side gunning for promotion, irrespective of the division.
If he is to join and stay at Town for the rest of the season, it is important to stress patience.
This time last season, Grant was playing in the fourth tier of English football. Now he faces the daunting prospect of playing against some of the country’s best.
Either way, Karlan Grant arrives as an extremely exciting prospect to add to the growing collection, already on the books at Town. If this signing signifies anything on a broader scale, it is that the future is bright.