Charlton eyes Ipswich for Dobson replacement.
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Charlton eyes Ipswich for Dobson replacement.

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The transfer speculation season has officially begun in League One, with third-tier clubs already beginning to consider their possibilities for the upcoming season as the summer begins.

Charlton Athletic will be no exception, with the Addicks seeking to develop a side capable of competing at the division’s top level in the coming season, following the promising start of Nathan Jones’ career at The Valley.

The South London club will likely be without current captain George Dobson next season, as the skipper has signed a pre-contract agreement with Hungarian side Fehervar.

That will leave them hunting high and low for a player capable of delivering performances of the same caliber as the 26-year-old’s during his three-year spell in the capital, and they have a man in Ipswich Town’s Dom Ball who can fill the gap.

Dom Ball’s Ipswich Town departure could play into Charlton Athletic’s hands

Since joining Athletic from Sunderland in 2021, Dobson’s commanding presence in the heart of the midfield has served as the glue that has held the team together.

The former Walsall man has played over 120 games in the last three seasons and has evolved into a talented performer, with current manager Jones expressing his wish to keep him at The Valley beyond the conclusion of the season.

It appears that he will be going, with the Charlton manager looking for replacements who can keep the team humming as the departed captain did throughout his stay at the club.

With the regular process of players’ contracts expiring in June, there is plenty of room for replacements to be brought in on cheap agreements, and one standout from the level above is Ipswich Town’s Ball.

The former Queens Park Rangers player’s contract at Portman Road will expire this summer, ending his two-year stint with the Suffolk club and leaving him looking for a new challenge.

Ball, who has only appeared 35 times for the Tractor Boys, will be aiming to rekindle his career with a summer move, and a drop in division could provide him with the incentive he needs to resume producing as we have seen him do in the past.

After becoming a regular at Loftus Road, a damaged meniscus in November 2022 ended his chances of contributing frequently for Kieran McKenna’s side during their successful League One campaign, leaving him sidelined for more than four months.

Ball, who has already secured a move to League One to advance his career, might possibly follow suit this summer, with Athletic the ideal location for him to resume controlling the show in the heart of the field.

With nearly 200 career matches to his name, the midfielder is an ideal fit for Jones and the Addicks, with the Welshman obtaining the services of some seasoned heads during his early days at The Valley.

Connor Wickham and Kazenga LuaLua were both brought in on short-term deals near the conclusion of the 23/24 season to provide much-needed experience, and Ball is another player who fits the description in terms of having been there and done it.

That is exactly the type of mentality required in a club that will continue to compete at the top during the arduous League One season, with seasoned campaigners assisting the exuberance of youth to keep the results coming.

Ball’s metronomic approach in the heart of the pitch would provide that in spades, with his calm and assured performances managing affairs for his team while allowing others ahead of him to provide the goods to win games.

George Dobson, Dom Ball contract latest

With Ipswich on the verge of clinching a sensational promotion to the Premier League, Ball’s time as a Town player appears to be coming to an end when his contract expires next month.

It’s a similar story for Dobson, who has almost said his goodbyes after being questioned about his future at the club’s Player of the Year ceremony.

He stated, “It’s an incredible football club.” Whatever happens, I’ve had the most amazing three years. Captaining this football club has been the greatest honour of my career.

“With football, some people work for football teams, while others do not. I was at Sunderland, an excellent football club, but I didn’t work there and didn’t play very well.

“I have come to Charlton and I have just connected on and off the pitch. They have welcomed my family incredibly well. I have stayed fit, played to a good level, and the fans have appreciated me. I have appreciated them unconditionally.”

With the writing appearing on the wall, Charlton will be seeking to complete their summer business as quickly as possible, and with Ball potentially available, they should be doing everything they can to secure his services during the offseason.

Jones has had just two defeats in his 16 matches as Athletic manager, but he has only four triumphs and ten draws.

The former Southampton manager has his team steadfast and difficult to beat, and with the addition of a little extra quality – much like Ball – the Addicks might morph into play-off candidates next season.

 

 

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