After a bit of 'will-he, won't-he' Jayden Stockley has signed on a permanent deal for three years. Portsmouth were rivals for his signature and both clubs appeared to have met Preston's asking price (believed to be c £450,000). With Charlton matching Pompey's wage offer, Stockley was pleased to stay with Charlton where he believes he has unfinished business. We have to hope that we get to see peak Stockley over the next three seasons as the 27 year-old's career matures.
It also goes some way towards allying fears that Nigel Adkins might not be getting quite the level of financial backing some expected. Stockley's signature will have cost Thomas Sandgaard a little over a million pounds (fee and wages). It also pencils in one of the striking berths with a player we know has the quality needed to get goals.
Looking at the players we have contracted and those with options, we are not short on numbers up front. Stockley joins Washington and Schwartz as first-teamers with the back-up of youth from Josh Davison and Aaron Henry. Chuks Aneke continues to consider his options and may yet accept an offer. I would take him, not as a partner for Stockley, but so we can introduce a fresh battling striker in every game. For me we still need a mobile goal-scorer. From what we saw last year, Ronnie Schwartz looked short of that. Washington was more convincing but frequent injuries prevented him from really securing a berth.
Given the need to go two better than last season to get out of this division automatically, we need to bring in a first-choice predator, someone Washington can compete with or provide fresh legs for, a la Stockley and Aneke. I would expect that sort of player to be as much, if not more, of a financial commitment than Stockley.
Whilst we also await decisions from Watson, Forster-Caskey and Pearce, Adkins will also be looking to strengthen midfield but especially defence where we are currently well short on numbers. We need another six I reckon and maybe more if any of those move on. I am not sure Watson and Pearce should necessarily be first choices next season even if they do take their deals (I think Adkins made that point without naming them) given our need to improve on last season.
Adkins will also want to make his mark on the side and I suspect he may bring in two or three players has had before and who he believes will improve us. A marquee signing central midfielder or that mobile goal-scorer would also help shift more season tickets and give the squad a boost, although Adkins has a budget and I suspect it won't be anything more than realistic.