West Ham Target Charlton Ace


Chris SollyA number of reports suggest West Ham United will reignite their interest in Charlton Athletic defender Chris Solly this summer, with the right-back said to be one of the Hammers main transfer targets. The question is will the Championship player be able to make the step up and be a success at Upton Park if we were to seal his signature.

In all honesty I have not seen a great deal of Solly. Other than a few games where Charlton have been on the TV, and Solly has always impressed, I have relied on reports in trying to gather how good the 22-year-old really is.

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In terms of the current squad, despite it not being essential, a new right-back would be welcomed at West Ham. In both Guy Demel and Joey O’Brien we have two solid enough right-backs but both have big injury concerns and neither are getting any younger. Based on the reports, Solly could just be exactly what we are looking for.

A friend of mine, who has been a Charlton Athletic season ticket holder for many years, cannot speak highly enough of the young Englishman. He informs me that Solly is twice the player Carl Jenkinson was when Charlton sold him to Arsenal. For me Jenkinson, after a tough start, has performed well for the Gunners and has a big future in the game. Solly was always ahead of Jenkinson in the pecking order and has kept the likes of Tom Ince and Wilfried Zaha quiet when he has come up against them this season. I always feel it’s the pacey, direct wingers like an Ince or say an Aaron Lennon which Demel and O’Brien struggle to handle.

Solly is a fully committed, consistent defender with an excellent attitude. He has always given 110 percent to the Charlton cause and is apparently on course to become the Championship side’s player of the year for the second time running. Despite not being lightning quick, Solly is said to have a decent burst of pace and can offer plenty going forward, consistently making overlapping runs and putting in dangerous crosses. Solly has also filled in at left-back when required and performed well.

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The Rochester born defender is also one who likes to keep the ball on the floor and play football from the back. This is something for me we haven’t seen enough off from West Ham this season under Allardyce and you would hope if he did sign; his good footballing mentality would not be changed.

Arguably his biggest weakness is his size. At just 5ft 7ins there would be a worry that Solly could be bullied in the Premiership and be a little lightweight. Of course only time will tell, but at the end of the day, if you’re good enough, size is not an issue. Just ask Lionel Messi.

So what about price? One thing in our favour is that Charlton are not the most financially secure club in the world and like many clubs who were recently relegated from the Premiership will need the money. Baring in mind they sold Jenkinson for around £1 million; I think a fee of around £2 million would be realistic. Of course with young, English players, price tags are always massively inflated so he may exceed the £2 million valuation, but I think if Solly really is as good as many say, he would be worth it. After all, if it goes well, he could potentially be our right-back for the next 5-10 years. In addition, unlike some foreign or more experienced players, you wouldn’t expect Solly’s wage demands to be too steep.

Of course there is always a risk and an uncertainty when it comes to signing a younger player from the lower leagues as you are never quite sure if they have what it takes to perform at the top level. However for me, Solly is a risk worth taking and one that will not be too financially damaging to the club. My Charlton mate, accepting the step up will be tough, has every confidence that he can be successful in the Premier League and grow into an even better player. He is improving game on game and deserves the chance in the big time.

Over to you Sullivan, Gold and Allardyce.

James May

Follow me on twitter @JimMay89

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  • THE CAT says:

    Chris Solly is a decent player but not premiership class, believe you have a player Jordon Spence who is better than him. The few games Jenkinson played for Charlton he was miles better than Solly.

  • CAFCfan says:

    Not sure how ‘The Cat’ can claim Jenkinson was better than Solly – Jenks was very poor in the games he played for us and clearly was still quite raw. Solly has rarely put a foot wrong in a red shirt.

    Also the article has in my opinion hugely undervalued Solly – the £1million we got for Jenkinson was compensation, not a transfer fee. If it was a transfer fee it would have been a great deal more. Most Charlton fans would be very unhappy to see Solly leave for any less than around £5million, he’s the best right-back outside the Premier League and I’d say our best academy graduate since Scott Parker.

  • john wines says:

    If we sign Solly, does that mean we are going to have two young defenders and get rid of Demel? I don’t think so. Alladyce is more intent on a Dads Army outfit rather than play good young players. I have no faith in Alladyce, never have and never will, he will never win me over. Some say he won us promotion last year, but with the players we had we should have won the league by at least 10 points, not win at Wembley luckily.

  • James says:

    I’d love a replacement for Demel. I like his workrate but omg he is tactically inept. I heard some people slating the centre backs for playing lampard onside for his goal. But anyone that has half a brain could see the whole defence move out and that plank Demel stuttering thinking shall I stay or move out. He aint a rookie. And was actually him leaving lamps inside. Anyway exciting news about stadium. HOPEFULLY CAN ATTRACT SOME YOUNG QUALITY NOW. Instead of ageing ex Bolton players. WHTID

  • Sussexmick says:

    Solly is equivalent to Billy Bonds was when you bought him many years ago. Whats he got going for him- commitment, quality on and off the ball and a never say die attitude. He is local and of course English. Whne the going gets tough or its a derby game that adds so much bite. As much as I would not want to see him go I am certain he could make the step up even if he takes a season to fully adapt to the Premiership. £2m would be a steal- we are strapped but feel that we would want to hold out for more. He is on a long contract at this level. Good luck at the new Stadium- East End griound for an East End team- rightly so.

    • The Cat says:

      Thanks for the info Sussexmick and thanks regarding the new stadium. Why those north London spud #@&*%s feel aggrieved I’ll never know!

  • Essex Iron says:

    I was so glad to read the very 1st response to this article where I believe’The Cat’ referred to Jordan Spence,I for one haven’t seen Solly play but accept that he is supposed to be decent, that’s fine so if West ham want him cool let us buy him and have 2 good youngsters compete for the position when Demel is finished (not long) Jordan Spence is a great talent who doesn’t get enough praise due to Sam Alladyce idea of not to play him apart from the odd cup game .

    All im saying is don’t forget Jordan Spence !

    p.s I am NOT Jordan Spence lol

  • The Cat says:

    who’s the new CAT on the block then???

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