Why Charlton Athletic have struck gold with the signing of Joe Ledley
According to Derbyshire Live, former Derby County midfielder, Joe Ledley, has signed for Championship rivals Charlton Athletic on a short-term deal until January.
The 32-year-old was without a club after his contract with the Rams was terminated by mutual consent back in January 2019 but he has finally made a return to club football with Charlton.
Ledley, who made his move to Pride Park from Crystal Palace back in the summer of 2017, played a bit-part role for Derby during the 2017-18 campaign but started only thrice in the Championship last season before mutually terminating his contract, with former manager Frank Lampard relegating the Welshman to bench duty more often than not.
Born in Cardiff, Wales, Joe Ledley came through the youth ranks at his hometown club Cardiff City and racked up more than 250 appearances for the Bluebirds across all competitions before moving north of the border to join Celtic in the summer of 2010.
A trophy-laden spell at Parkhead saw him bag three Scottish Premiership titles and a solitary Scottish Cup crown under the stewardship of Neil Lennon while the Welshman also enhanced his CV with some Champions League experience.
That paved the way for a move to Crystal Palace in January 2014 and Ledley went on to enjoy a successful stint in South London, racking up 86 appearances for the Eagles in the Premier League over the course of three-and-a-half seasons.
Meanwhile, Charlton Athletic seem to have lost their way in the Championship after an impressive start to the campaign in the second-tier following their promotion from League One via the playoffs at the end of the 2018-19 season.
An unbeaten run of 6 games in August sparked largely by Lyle Taylor’s goalscoring heroics meant that Charlton laid down an early marker as one of the surprise playoff contenders, but things have gone downhill ever since for Lee Bowyers’ side.
The Addicks currently find themselves languishing 17th in the standings following a long winless run.
With that in mind, Charlton’s recent dismal form certainly called for some much-needed inspiration heading into the busy Christmas period and the arrival of Joe Ledley comes as a piece of welcome news to the club faithful.
One of the mainstays of the Welsh side that made a stunning march to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, Ledley is expected to provide Bowyer with some valuable cover in the middle of the park given that the growing list of injuries at The Valley is becoming a real concern for the manager.
Lyle Taylor and Chunks Aneke’s potential return for the trip to Teesside could be a massive boost but with midfielders, Josh Cullen, Sam Field and Brighton loanee Beram Kayal all ruled out, Charlton have certainly been crying out for some experienced cover, and Joe Ledley perfectly fits the bill in that regard.
Bearing in mind that the 32-year-old hasn’t played club football for nearly a year since his departure from Derby County in January 2019, he might take a bit of time to get his fitness levels up to the mark to play a big part for the Addicks in the Championship.
However, he had been training regularly prior to his move to The Valley and Charlton would be well within their rights to expect him to make an immediate impact, with some of the club’s mainstays in the middle of the park currently on the treatment table heading into a hectic festive schedule.
Indeed, Charlton have a tough run of fixtures coming up against Huddersfield Town, Hull City, QPR, Bristol City and Derby County in December before a trip to the Liberty Stadium to face Swansea City on January 3.
Ledley still seems to have enough gas left in his tank at the age of 32 and his wealth of experience, as well as his winning mentality, could make a real difference for the Addicks, both on and off the field.
His presence is likely to be a positive influence on the development of youngsters like Alfie Doughty, George Lapslie, Albie Morgan, Connor Gallagher and James Vennings.
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All in all, a short-term deal for Joe Ledley makes perfect sense for Charlton Athletic for a number of reasons and it is not difficult to see that they have, indeed, pulled off a smart piece of business.