FC Zurich have confirmed reports that the club's top scorer, Shaun Bartlett, is being released on loan to Charlton Athletic. The London side have agreed a transfer fee with Zurich in the event of the South African's move becoming permanent.
Zurich's president Sven Hotz said on Tuesday that Charlton's offer did not match the Sfr 7.2 million bid tabled in the summer by Italian Serie-A club Lecce. Bartlett, though, had already expressed a preference towards playing in England.
Hotz did not say whether Bartlett would be heading to London immediately or staying with Zurich until the end of the qualification round in early December. The Swiss club are still in danger of dropping into the relegation playoffs for the second season in a row.
Bartlett's new club are in a much healthier position. After winning promotion to England's top division last season the club are currently in seventh place.
Captain of the South African national side, Bartlett joined Zurich from the New York Metro Stars after the 1998 World Cup. In his first season he scored 13 league goals and guided Zurich to the third round of the UEFA Cup with eight goals in the European competition.
Last season Bartlett managed just six league goals, a lean spell which coincided with Zurich's slide into the relegation round. The South African ended the summer on a high, though, scoring in the team's Swiss Cup final win over Lausanne.
swissinfo with agencies