After Norwich and Southampton both achieved back to back promotions from League One and The Championship, many will be expecting big things from Chris Powell’s Charlton in the forthcoming Championship season. Despite blitzing through League One and amassing 101 points, the suspicion remains amongst Charlton fans that improvements need to be made if they are to equal such exploits. Central midfielders Danny Hollands, Dale Stephens and Bradley Pritchard all performed sterling roles in League One, yet none possess the creativity required to unlock a stern back line. Wingers Wagstaff and Green both struggled with form at points last season, and there will be no respite for such failure in the Championship. Speculation remains as to how much money Chris Powell will have to spend. If in search of a bargain, here are five attractive loan signings, from the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, that Powell should make to send The Addicks towards the promised land.
This time a year ago a loan move to the Championship would have undoubtedly been seen as a unnecessary step down for Josh McEachran. McEachran impressed in a number of pre-season friendlies for Chelsea and looked set to be a key part of Andre Villas-Boas’ youth orientated plans. First team football was limited for the youngster however and McEachran was loaned to newly promoted Swansea in January where he still struggled to hold down a first team place.
A quick youtube search reveals that McEachran possesses the fleet-footed creativity, vision and skill to help Chris Powell’s men
The move would clearly benefit both parties, offering McEachran the first team football his talents scream out for, and Charlton a small dose of Premiership quality vision and skill. A quick youtube search reveals that McEachran possesses the fleet-footed creativity, vision and skill to help Chris Powell’s men unlock those meanest of Championship defences. Those who question whether his small stature is suited to Championship football would do well to look at the success of Adam Lallana, Jem Karacan and Stephen Dobbie; similarly slight but instrumental midfielders for their club last season.
If McEachran does prove to be out of Charlton’s reach, Jon Toral could be the next best option. A product of La Masia, Barcelona’s prestigious academy, a loan move to bring Toral to The Valley would be a real coup. Toral is two years younger than McEachran yet is already a regular for the Arsenal reserve team. Toral compares his style to Frank Lampard, and demonstrated a knack for finding the net from midfield in his reserve and academy performances thus far. At 17, Toral will still be very raw, yet his presence in Charlton’s squad would provide Powell with a real wildcard capable of catching out the opposition.
Club captain Johnnie Jackson will undoubtedly be first-choice on the left of midfield for Chris Powell’s men, yet last season revealed that Charlton are in dire need of another option here. Jackson often found himself injured, and Powell was left to either play players out of position or draft in loanees such as Hogan Ephraim and Lee Cook. Ephraim and Cook both did a job but with promotion to the Championship, an increase in quality is required. Townsend already knows the league well having played for five Championship clubs in just two years. Townsend consistently impressed but is still unlikely to get much game time with a Champions League chasing Tottenham. Instead, Townsend would do well to “settle down” with one team, a long-term loan to Charlton could provide him with a platform to truly make his name.
Sterling’s potential is already arousing excitement on Merseyside and he eventually broke into the team towards the end of last season
Another winger who could add youthful vim and vigour to Charlton’s midfield is Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling. With Brendan Rodgers taking over at Anfield, Sterling is unlikely to let any player leave until he has taken a good look. Sterling can play both on the right and the left so if Danny Green and Scott Wagstaff do struggle to step up to the Championship next season, Chris Powell should put on his polite voice and get on the phone to Brendan. Sterling’s potential is already arousing excitement on Merseyside and he eventually broke into the team towards the end of last season. An extended run in the team, might be beyond Sterling at this early stage in his career. However where Rodgers can’t provide, Powell certainly can.
Afobe has been threatening to explode onto the national footballing landscape for a while now. Arsenal’s Afobe has both the physique and technique to succeed but has so far failed to deliver true goal-scoring riches. According to the coaches at Arsenal it is only a matter of time until he comes good. Afobe has hinted at his great potential during loan spells at Huddersfield and last season’s Championship champions, Reading. However, it is his form at international level that truly raises the eyebrows. With Paul Hayes and Leon Clarke destined for the exit door at The Valley, Afobe could be the perfect replacement to provide competition for Bradley Wright-Phillips and Yann Kermorgant.
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