Charlton are reportedly interested in Reading’s Sam Baldock, according to journalist Anthony Smith.
The Addicks are in need of new additions to the squad, particularly in the forward areas with Lyle Taylor, Macauley Bonne and Chuks Aneke being the only strikers currently at the club.
Baldock signed a three-year deal with The Royals when he made the move last summer, but he had a disappointing season, making only 21 league appearances and scoring just five in that time.
Bit of #readingfc news to pass on. McCleary could be off to the States and Charlton want Baldock. Source pretty reliable.
— Anthony Smith (@Smudgersport) July 6, 2019
That means they could be willing to offload the 30-year-old, although they will likely look to recoup much of the fee they paid to Brighton.
Our FLW Six Point Opinion breaks down the possible move and what he could bring to Charlton ahead of their first campaign back in the Championship.
Will he get into the starting XI?
“Given Charlton’s lack of options up front, it is likely Baldock would partner Taylor up front to start the season, as Bonne and Aneke lack Championship experience and perhaps aren’t ready just yet.
“Baldock has loads of ability but it is his fitness that has been a concern in the recent past. He barely played for Brighton in 2017/18 and that has set him back, as he struggled to start games regularly with Reading too.
“If he can stay fit he should prove to be an important player for Charlton. Their squad currently lacks the experience and leadership which Baldock would be able to provide, and he should partner Taylor well.”
Is it a risk to sign a player who hasn’t played a great deal in the past two years?
“Of course it is a massive risk, particularly as Charlton will have one of the smallest budgets in the division so they simply can’t afford to pay a player who won’t feature with regularity.
“Added to that, he will likely be one of Charlton’s highest earners, and therefore he should be one of the most important players for the team – not a player who spends most of his time out of the squad.
“That being said, it is his fitness record which means Charlton may be able to sign him. If he can prove his fitness and play regularly he could easily become one of Charlton’s most important players, and therefore it would be a risk that pays off.”
What does he offer that Charlton don’t already have?
“A big aspect of Baldock’s play now is his intelligence. He was once a pacy striker who ran in behind the defence, but he has worked on his ability on the ball and improved his awareness and technical ability.
“Charlton already have a quick forward in Taylor, so Baldock’s role would primarily be to create chances for him, whilst also acting as a poacher in and around the opposition penalty area.
“He would be able to link the midfield and attack, unlike Taylor, Bonne or Aneke. He is great at finding space and pulling defenders out of position and could operate in front of the defence – whereas the other two like to play on the last man.”
Given that he will cost a fee should Charlton look elsewhere?
“Charlton are not known for spending big on players, and with Baldock likely costing upwards of £1m – in my opinion – it would be a big hit on the budget for just one player, especially one with fitness concerns such as his.
“It ultimately depends on Bowyer’s view of him. If he believes he could be pivotal to Charlton’s chances of success next season then the club should trust him and try and bring him in.
“If he helps Charlton stay up and consolidate over the next few years then he will have repaid the money spent on him, and he is more than capable of doing that.
“Despite that, spending so much on one player could restrict the size of the playing squad, and Charlton will need strength in depth if they are to produce results throughout the season. They have acted shrewdly to bring in Aneke and Lockyer on frees, and there are more players available who would improve the team without costing a great deal.”
Should Reading hold onto him in the hope he can feature more regularly next season?
“The club is in the position where they need to decide whether to cut their losses or hold out in the faith that he can feature more regularly next season.
“He still has a lot to offer Reading and if he can stay fit he should be able to score around 10-15 goals next season. He was an important player for Brighton in their promotion season and on his day he can be the difference in deciding games.
“However, if they receive a decent fee for him they should consider selling. Reading also have a tight budget and can’t afford for Baldock to sit on the sidelines for another year. The money they receive for him could be spent in a number of areas, and on players who are part of Jose Manuel Gomes’ plans.”
Would Baldock suit Charlton?
“Charlton liked to play attacking football last season, and their passing style would be able to accommodate Baldock really well.
“Taylor was brilliant at feeding off low crosses into the box last season and that is exactly the type of service which would suit Baldock too, as many of his goals throughout his career have come from exactly that.
“He would also work well alongside the other three strikers at the club. Each have the physical attributes to complement Baldock’s clever lay-offs and passing ability, and he could create a lot of opportunities for them if he signs.”