Portsmouth are leading the race to sign Preston North End striker Jayden Stockley, according to the Lancashire Post.
Stockley, 27, spent the second half of last season on loan at Charlton Athletic for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign, after playing a bit-part role for for the Lilywhites since his arrival in January 2019.
With Ched Evans, Scott Sinclair, Tom Barkhuizen, Emil Riis Jakobsen and others as options in Preston’s attacking third and Stockley seemingly out in the cold, the forward could return to the third tier of English football this summer and Danny Cowley’s Pompey are currently favourites to secure his signature.
Cowley is not alone in his pursuit for Stockley though, with fellow League One sides Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic also firmly in the race for the man who performed admirably at Exeter City before his move to Frankie McAvoy’s side.
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According to the same Lancashire Post report, the latter are preparing to launch a bid for the 27-year-old, keeping Portsmouth on their toes as they look to secure their second signing of the summer.
Jayden Stockley was a man in high demand before his move to Deepdale. As per an Exeter City club statement, his £750,000 release clause was triggered by several clubs in early-2019 before Preston landed him – and if he can regain the form he showed at the Grecians – the League One side who wins his signature will have a great chance of reaching the second tier.
For a sleeping giant like Portsmouth who spent a period of this century in the top flight before their financial problems, having a goal scorer like Stockley would be a major step towards a Championship return.
Pompey scored a respectable 65 goals last season but if they want to push for promotion in 2021/22, they need some extra firepower. The 27-year-old could potentially provide that and is well worth taking a chance on if he can be signed within their budget.
The same applies to Sheffield Wednesday who will also have a restricted budget, and Charlton who saw Stockley perform well in south-east London last season.
For Preston, his sale could free up some space for another player to join – and it could end up being a good deal for all parties if the forward moves on.