A statue of Sam Batram outside The Valley, home of Charlton Athletic
Charlton Athletic were relegated from the Championship last season, making an immediate return to the third tier

New Charlton Athletic owner Thomas Sandgaard says expects to lose up to £20m in his first year at the League One club.

However, the Dane also believes the club could be “eight years out from being one of the top clubs in England and consistently playing in Europe”.

Sandgaard completed his takeover of the Addicks in September, but is still involved in a legal wrangle with Manchester-based businessman Paul Elliott, who claims he is the rightful owner of the club.

Legal fees are increasing Sandgaard’s outlay at a time when the US-based businessman is already juggling finances with no spectators allowed at matches.

Sandgaard says Charlton are “safe” but accepts his losses will be huge.

“It is rough,” he told BBC Sport. “I stand to lose probably close to £20m this year.

“I believe it will be worth it because there is so much potential at a club like Charlton, but this is a very difficult situation all the EFL clubs are in right now.

“For some it might even be devastating and they might have to restructure. We will see how it all shapes out at the end of the season but it is definitely not great.”

English Football League clubs have agreed a deal in principle for sides in League One and Two to receive a £50m short-term rescue package from the Premier League.

Sandgaard, though, does not believe the sums involved will make a massive difference because “it is expensive to run a football club”.

After six wins in a row in League One, Charlton are fourth in the table with at least one game in hand on all the teams above them.

It leaves them well placed for an attempt to escape the third tier, where they have spent six out of the past 11 seasons.

Their goal will then be a push for a return to the Premier League, which they were relegated from in 2007.

But that is not the limit of Sandgaard’s aspirations.

“We might do a few more improvements in January and I would anticipate as a minimum that would put us into a play-off position,” he added.

“In parallel I have already started the foundation of building the football side, getting the structures in place to be a Premier League club.

“Our long-term goal is to start playing European football. In a best-case scenario we might be as little as eight years out from being one of the top clubs in England and consistently playing in Europe.”

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