According to London News Online, Charlton Atheltic are exploring the possibility of completing a permanent deal for West Ham loanee Josh Cullen, who has been in fine form for the Addicks in the Championship this season.
Charlton are on the verge of a takeover by East Street Investments, with Roland Duchaletet close to selling the Championship club to the cash-rich business group (h/t London News Online).
As per the report, the Addicks’ new owners are keen to turn Cullen’s loan spell from West Ham into a permanent one if a deal to buy the club is finalised in the coming months.
Cullen, who has spent time on loan at The Valley since the start of the previous campaign, is out of contract at West Ham in the summer of 2020, although he has a one-year extension clause in his contract in East London. (h/t London News Online)
The 23-year-old contributed with a goal and 6 assists in 32 appearances for Charlton Athletic across all competitions last season, playing a key role in the club’s promotion-winning campaign in League One via the playoffs before returning to the Valley on a second consecutive loan stint this past summer.
The West Ham academy graduate has made the step up to the Championship this term, establishing himself as one of the mainstays of Lee Bowyer’s midfield in the second-tier, starting 16 out of the club’s 19 league fixtures till date.
Born in Westcliff-on-Sea, Josh Cullen rose through the youth system at West Ham before making his senior professional bow for the Hammers against Lusitanos in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League back in July 2015.
However, he has found it difficult to nail down a regular first-team role at his boyhood club in the subsequent campaigns due to stiff competition for places, clocking up only nine senior appearances.
Having previously spent time on loan at Bradford City and Bolton Wanderers, Cullen is currently in his second consecutive season loan spell at Charlton.
The 23-year-old has been an ever-present on the right-hand side of Lee Bowyer’s preferred diamond formation in the middle of the park in the Championship this season.
While Chelsea loanee Connor Gallagher has stolen most of the limelight with his goal contributions, Cullen has also racked up some impressive displays of his own.
The West Ham starlet has only scored and assisted one apiece in 16 appearances so far but his excellent all-round game coupled with his work rate has turned him into an indispensable asset to the Addicks’ midfield cavalry.
As per whoscored, Cullen averages 46.8 passes per game at an accuracy of 84.2% in the Championship this term, including 1.4 crosses, 1.4 key passes, 2.6 long balls, 1.9 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 1.4 clearances per game, figures which lie testament to the kind of progress he has made at The Valley so far.
To put things into perspective, Josh Cullen continues to be an excellent young professional in the making and Charlton Athletic would bag a massive coup if they manage to complete a permanent deal for him in January or the summer.
Cullen is no longer a promising youngster and at 23, he is very much at crossroads, where he would have to settle down somewhere and decide what is best for his development.
Despite a blatant lack of depth in West Ham’s midfield, there hasn’t been any indication that Manuel Pellegrini is planning to integrate him into his first-team plans moving forward.
To that end, a permanent switch to The Valley, where he has already spent time on loan over the past 18 months, could provide him with an excellent opportunity to finally settle down in his career and make strides towards carving out a reputation for himself.
Looking at things from Charlton’s perspective, they will eventually need to make a decision on the future of their loanees come the end of the season. However, signing Josh Cullen, who faces an uncertain future at West Ham, could be a viable option.
In Albie Morgan, James Vennings, Alfie Doughty and George Lapslie, Charlton have a wonderful quartet of young midfielders coming through their academy ranks and Josh Cullen could be yet another fantastic addition to that cavalry.
The 23-year-old, who has already been capped twice by the Republic of Ireland at the senior international level, still has his best years ahead of him and going by what we have seen from him over the course of his loan spell, he could well go on to become a trusted servant for the club in the years to come.
All in all, Charlton Athletic completing a permanent deal for Josh Cullen is an absolute no-brainer and an excellent piece of business in the market.
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