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The Free Agents That Charlton Should Sign

We’re now into June and Charlton Athletic are yet to add to their squad in preparation for August. The new season is just 64 days away. Jason Euell is going to have to register as a player for the Welling United friendly. Panic.

But, with retained lists steadily released over the past few weeks, a number of high quality players are now available on a free. Panic averted.

And I’ve made the scouting team’s job a whole lot easier by scrolling through all the lists of released players to find a number the Addicks should be looking at signing. You’re most welcome, chaps.  

Defenders

Jos Hooiveld

With Tal Ben Haim, Roger Johnson and Oguchi Oneywu all released, in addition to doubts over the futures of Andre Bikey and Joe Gomez, it’s no secret that filling the gaping hole at centre-back will be one of the main priorities for Charlton this summer.

And, despite his Millwall connection, then can be no complaints should the Addicks manage to attract Jos Hooiveld to SE7.

In fact, Hooiveld showed his class in the defeat at The Den in April. The Dutchman, on loan to the Lions from Southampton, was one of few Championship defenders to contain Tony Watt last season, rarely being fooled by his trickery and frequently forcing him away from goal.

Having played in England for five years, you would imagine the former Netherlands U19 international is settled here, and would therefore probably want another English club, while his age, 32, shouldn’t be enough to put off those who make the final decisions on transfers at Charlton given the centre-backs who were recruited last season.

The only plausible factor that would prevent the Addicks from signing Hooiveld would be his wage demands, but he remained on the same deal at Southampton throughout his time there, starting in the Championship, so you would imagine they wouldn’t be beyond our reach.

Paul McShane

There was fury among Hull City fans when Steve Bruce decided to keep his son, Alex, at the club and allow popular centre-back Paul McShane to leave.

But Hull’s loss will be a Championship’s club’s gain. Despite their relegation, the Republic of Ireland international impressed as part of the Tigers’ back three, and would certainly do a job in the second tier.

With his wages unlikely to be extortionate and McShane the right side of 30, he’s certainly a viable option for the Addicks.

Ryan Taylor

With Lawrie Wilson released and Charlton’s chances of keeping Joe Gomez slim, a right-back to compete with Chris Solly is needed, and Taylor seems like a decent option.

Given his harsh treatment by Newcastle United, he’ll certainly have a point prove, and, without being outstanding, he did a decent job for the Magpies during their struggles in the back end of last season having returned from a lengthy injury absence.

You would imagine that Championship is now his level, so the only issue would be a question of wage. Given his injury problems in the past, I can’t see him demanding too much.

Other options

Lewis Buxton: An experienced but injury hit right-back. Ryan Taylor-lite.

Joe Mattock: A decent left-back, but injury hit and not a position, with Rhoys Wiggins and Morgan Fox in place, which needs strengthening.

Carlos Cuellar: Very similar to Jos Hooiveld, but lower in quality. Not an improvement on the centre-backs that were at the club last season.

Matt Mills: Once highly rated, the former Bolton man is now nothing more than a sub-standard Championship centre-back. Again, not an improvement on what we had last season.

Midfielders

Kim Bo-Kyung

Throughout last season, there were constant calls for Charlton to sign a creative, attacking midfielder. With Jordan Cousins, Johnnie Jackson and Alou Diarra, the Addicks have a bunch of, although incredibly talented, strong and hardworking battlers.

And Kim Bo-Kyung would fill that role well. Impressing during Cardiff’s promotion to the Premier League, regardless of Malky MacKay’s comments, and then doing a decent job for the Scottish manager at Wigan last season, the South Korean would be an excellent addition to the squad.

Chris Taylor

With Ben Marshall and Craig Conway ahead of him at Ewood Park, Chris Taylor’s chances were limited last season, but he remains a very tidy winger at this level.

His goals at The Valley in the FA Cup, well taken if a little assisted by some generous Charlton defending, combined with his overall performance showed that, despite his isolation during the campaign just gone, he still has enough about him to perform for a side with ambitions of finishing in the top half of the Championship.

More of a diligent and hardworking winger than the sort of player who could act as a direct replacement for Frederic Bulot, he might well be a useful rotation option.

At the very least, he’s an upgrade on Chris Eagles.

Ben Pringle

Having rejected the offer of a new contract at the Millers, one of the sweetest left foots in the Championship is available on a free.

Pringle will surely be attracting interest from all bar the very top second tier clubs, given how much he has impressed at Rotherham over the previous few seasons, but would surely be a reasonable target for the Addicks.

Other options

Rudolph Austin: Inconsistent, but an outstanding Championship midfielder on his day. Austin, however, is of similar style to the midfielders the Addicks already have, and shouldn’t be a priority.

Jerome Thomas: The one-time Addick was frozen out by Palace and, at 32, is well past his best, but as someone who I personally admired during his time in SE7, I wouldn’t frown if he was to return.

Paul Anderson: A winger of similar standard to Chris Taylor who I’d be delighted to sign, but Ipswich haven’t yet ruled out keeping Anderson at Portman Road.

Forwards

Nicky Maynard

After an injury-hit season, during which the previously prolific forward managed just 12 appearances and a single goal, you would think Maynard would be hungry to prove himself at Championship level once again.

With the Addicks lacking an alternative to Igor Vetokele, which proved so costly to the side and to the forward himself last season, a punt on the poacher to bolster the attacking options would not be a bad move at all.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas

Despite playing a vital role in Bristol City’s promotion to the Championship, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas has been let go by the League One Champions, and will surely have a number of suitors in the second tier.

Although he is versatile, able to play across the midfield, it’s as a target man where he excels – the sort of forward that Charlton require.

With a decent goal-scoring record to complement his ability in the air and to hold up the ball, there is no reason why the Addicks shouldn’t be showing interest in JET.

Bobby Zamora

At the risk of brutally cutting off a decent percentage of my readership, I’m not entirely sure we can be friends if you look at the list of players released by Queens Park Rangers and feel even the slightest bit excited.

A defender in Richard Dunne who makes Johnson look as quick and agile as Usain Bolt, a yellow-card hungry midfielder in Joey Barton whose a lot more trouble than he’s worth, and a worse-than-Bradley winger in Shaun Wright-Phillips whose career has been ruined by his desire to collect pounds doing very little at Loftus Road.

But I will allow you to suggest Bobby Zamora would be a decent enough signing. His Wembley winner and stunning strike against West Brom fail to mask the fact he’s not prolific, but he’s the sort of forward we don’t really have – a massive shithouse.

There are, though, numerous issues with pursuing Zamora. The most obvious being that he’d demand a sizeable wage which, even if we could afford, would be hard to argue would be worth it for what he could provide.

At 34, he’s unlikely to attract the interest of the Addicks regardless of how much of a dent he’ll put in the wage budget.

Other options

Craig Mackail-Smith: The forward was released after another season of struggle at Brighton and, while maintaining a decent reputation, is probably no longer good enough for the Championship.

Luciano Becchio: The Argentine managed three goals in five appearances while on loan at Rotherham, but just 21 appearances for the Millers and Norwich since January 2013 makes signing Becchio a bit of an unnecessary risk.

Carlton Cole: There’s not a chance we could afford his wages, but he’d at least know his way to Sparrows Lane.

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