Accrington Stanley hot-shot Dion Charles is a man in demand, with the striker being linked with a move to the Championship this summer, per The Sun.
Cardiff City, Derby County and Huddersfield Town have all been named as potential suitors for the 25-year-old, who received his first Northern Ireland cap during the recent international break when he came on against the USA.
Charles has had a breakout year for Stanley as they push for the League One play-offs, scoring 17 goals in 34 games (Sofascore) to make him stand out as one of League One’s leading strikers, and due to the success of Ivan Toney at Brentford this season, the prolific scorers of England’s third tier are now taken notice of a lot more.
Rated at £1.5 million, there could be a bit of a bidding war for Charles – but where would he fit best?
The first option of course is that no bid comes close to tempting Accy owner Andy Holt, but you’d imagine that the club will cash in in these uncertain financial times.
They’d ideally love to keep the player they plucked from non-league Southport two years ago, but a seven-figure fee would probably get a deal done.
Let’s look at Huddersfield first, who are still not safe from relegation, especially after a 7-0 hammering off Norwich on Tuesday.
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If the Terriers end up plummeting into League One then it will take them out of the equation already, but if they are destined for another Championship season, then they definitely need to invest in the front-line.
Yaya Sanogo and Oumar Niasse joined on short-term deals until the end of the season but we don’t know if they’ll remain beyond that, veteran striker Fraizer Campbell is out of contract and that would leave just Danny Ward, who has struggled with injuries this campaign.
With loans owed back to former owner Dean Hoyle though, it’s unlikely that Huddersfield will go out splashing seven-figure fees on anyone unless a talent like Lewis O’Brien is sold for big money.
Then there’s Cardiff, who are again a club short on natural strikers.
Kieffer Moore is obviously the leading man at the Bluebirds and Mick McCarthy has more often than not played someone alongside him, occasionally using winger Sheyi Ojo there.
McCarthy has Mark Harris and Max Watters, prolific in the first half of the season at Crawley, but he seems reluctant to use either man, which is where Charles could come into play.
Charles is used to playing in a front two at Stanley with Colby Bishop and he could be the perfect energetic foil to Moore’s hold-up play – if Cardiff are willing to spend the money.
And then Derby County are in the mix, and if Charles wants to learn off a coach and take his game to the next level, is there a better manager in the league than Wayne Rooney to do just that?
The Rams have just Colin Kazim-Richards and Martyn Waghorn on the books as striking options for next season, and they’re both over the age of 30.
With a takeover from Erik Alonso’s consortium in the works, Derby could have money to spend this summer and Charles would be a reasonable investment.
More clubs could come into the fold though as potential suitors, which will make it a very interesting summer for both Charles and Holt who will probably be rubbing his hands together at a potential auction.