On Saturday afternoon, a strange rumour emerged surrounding Preston.
TEAMtalk report that North End are in the race to sign Charlton Athletic striker Lyle Taylor. They aren’t alone in the battle though, as Burnley, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Stoke, Rangers and Middlesbrough are also keen.
Taylor is out of contract this summer, so he can move on for free. Brentford failed with a number of bids last summer, and Charlton now look set to lose him for absolutely nothing.
The 30-year-old has been a star for the Addicks since joining from Wimbledon in 2018. He smashed 25 goals in 42 games during the 2018-19 season, and whilst injuries have interrupted him this term, he’s still hit 11 goals in 22 games.
As if that isn’t enough, he’s also contributed 14 assists. Having bounced around a number of clubs in the past, Taylor has now settled down and impressed in the Championship.
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Taylor is likely to be in demand this summer as a result, and he does make sense for North End. He’s a big, physical and quick striker, fitting the mould of what Alex Neil likes.
Neil would probably love to have a player like Taylor in Preston’s attack, and he raided Charlton for Patrick Bauer last summer. Ultimately though, it’s hard to see North End paying the kind of wages Taylor could command elsewhere.
A bizarre twist emerged today though, as Charlton boss Lee Bowyer told talkSPORT that Taylor is refusing to play once football returns. He’s worried about picking up an injury, so he will be sitting out games.
Bowyer compared him to Troy Deeney in terms of being a talismanic forward, and believes that Taylor will earn a ‘life-changing move’ this summer, which he appears to be putting ahead of Charlton’s relegation battle.
“It’s a difficult one for us,” said Bowyer. “We have 15 players out of contract and we have six loans and nine of our own contracted players out [at other clubs]. Unfortunately for us three of those players have said they’re not going to play, and Lyle is one of them. That’s tough for us, that’s tough for me as the manager. Lyle’s a big player for us, a bit like Deeney at Watford – when he plays we can win games – and Lyle has said he’s not going to play because of risk of injury.
“I don’t think I’m asking too much. Lyle is a Charlton player and he’s done great for us for two years, so in my eyes you finish what you started. Everyone has got their own decisions to make, and I can’t force them. What disappoints me the most, and I’ve spoken to Lyle on the phone and he wants to play, but he’s so worried about getting injured that he’s saying, ‘I wouldn’t be the same player for you’. It’s just difficult because he’s so big for us, but he’s going to get a life-changing move elsewhere. I know how well he’s done for us, if it wasn’t for Lyle we wouldn’t even be in this division. He was outstanding last season, he had a great start this season, and now he’s chosen not to come back and play until the end,” he added.