Sheffield Wednesday are eyeing a move for Jayden Stockley this summer according to the Sheffield Star.
The 28-year-old scored 20 goals in all competitions for Charlton Athletic in 2021/22 despite spending an extended spell on the sidelines with a back injury.
Charlton finished 13th, where Wednesday came fourth, and the Owls look far better placed to kick on towards a promotion push than the still manager-less Addicks.
Stockley is the club’s captain, with Jason Pearce leaving at the end of his contract this summer, and has two years remaining on his deal in South London.
Charlton have no obligation to sell the player, and will leave themselves very weak up top if he does depart, after Conor Washington moved on to Rotherham United following the expiration of his contract recently.
From the player’s perspective, Wednesday pose a far more realistic chance of winning promotion from the third tier next term and therefore the link could be unsettling.
Stockley contributes a lot off the ball, occupying defenders and winning aerial duels, therefore it was even more impressive to see him hit the 20-goal tally.
Arguably more important than his goals, given the look of the Charlton squad at the moment, are Stockley’s leadership qualities which will be vital if the club are to avoid another underwhelming campaign next term.
These are required even more, with Pearce departing and Johnnie Jackson leaving the dugout after an affiliation with the Addicks that lasted over 12 years.
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2022/23 could be the season, if the club are not smart in their recruitment of players and a new manager, such that is still yet to get underway, that Charlton realise that Jackson has been holding it all together on and off the pitch for a number of years.
With Pearce leaving, even though he would have been a fringe player next season anyway, only really Stockley and Sam Lavelle are left as players with natural leadership qualities.
They are the type of characters that will be needed if the going gets tough next season, which due to a lack of preparation, at the moment seems very likely.
Even though the squad is strong compared to the rest of the bottom half of League One, should Stockley depart and the club lose another strong voice in the dressing room, their potential floor in 2022/23 will become concerningly lower.