This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer cannot help but be nervous as reports on Claret & Hugh suggest that midfielder Josh Cullen could be recalled by his parent club West Ham in the January transfer window.
Cullen, 23, has been in fine form so far this season for the Addicks, but with West Ham suffering mixed results it could well be that Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini decides to recall the player for the second half of the season.
So how big a blow would it be to Charlton if Cullen was recalled by West Ham?
“Losing Cullen would be a massive blow for Lee Bowyer’s side in the January window, with the midfielder integral to both Charlton’s promotion from League One last season and their encouraging start to life back in the Championship so far this term.
“Cullen’s calmness and composure in possession in the middle of the pitch is a vital asset for Charlton, allowing them to play their way through midfield at times and allow the full-backs to push on, especially when Bowyer operates with a midfield diamond.
“The midfielder has proven himself capable of playing at a really consistent level so far this season in the Championship, and is excelling with the regular game time he is being given by Charlton, so in many ways a recall from West Ham might be a little counter productive.
“Were Cullen to leave Charlton would need to go into the market and recruit another midfielder with the same skillset to enable them to carry on playing in the same way they have so far this season, which is why losing him would be such a blow and he would be difficult to replace given the small budget available to Bowyer.”
“A big blow for Charlton, Cullen has been great for the Addicks over the past 18 months and continues to grow with the side he’s in.
“Charlton achieved promotion to the Championship and are continuing to look up following an impressive start, which sees them sit in ninth and just five points behind first-placed West Brom.
“Since re-joining Charlton in the summer, Cullen has not missed a single minute of league football and has been a pivotal part to Lee Bowyer’s side so far in their push for the play-offs.
“I doubt West Ham would see much point in recalling Cullen but if it were to be exercised it would be a massive problem for Charlton as they would need to replace him well to keep up their top-half performances.”
Would the recall of Josh Cullen in January prove a big blow for Charlton Athletic?
“This would be a big blow for Charlton as Cullen has really thrived in the engine room of their midfield this season, with the youngster having really established himself in side since arriving at the Valley.
“As I have said before about Diangana, I believe this would be a poor move from West Ham, as it could disrupt Cullen’s development, with the midfielder obviously having come along way as a player since arriving in the Championship.
“He keeps the ball moving for Charlton by maintaining the tempo when in possession, whilst he also helps to cover the full back that is on his side, meaning that he makes a big impact for his side in both attacking and defensive areas.
“I highly doubt West Ham will recall Cullen in January as they are well stocked in that area, however I also believe Charlton should be prepared for any eventuality that could arise, meaning that they should line up replacements just in case.”