Lee Bowyer’s words might not have convinced Joe Aribo to extend his stay by rejecting a switch to Rangers, but the gaffer has succeeded in securing the services of Tom Lockyer fending off interest from the fellow suitors. The former Bristol Rovers skipper signed a two-year deal with Charlton Athletic upon expiration of his contract at Memorial.
The Pirates finished 15th last season in League One, but the Welshman was towering at the back. Also, his stellar show attracted the attention of many including the Championship new boys. The Addicks, however, won the race to rope in the centre-half as they confirmed his arrival on Friday moments after announcing the signing of attacking sensation Chuks Aneke from MK Dons.
Lockyer represented his former club 285 times in the lower leagues of English football but is now up for the challenge in the second tier for the first time in his career. He has earned five senior caps for Wales till date and holds the experience as well as attributes to flourish at the Valley next season.
The 24-year-old centre-back had offers on the table, but a conversation with Bowyer persuaded him to join Charlton rejecting the others.
“The first time I sat down with Lee it was quite surreal, to be honest, I was hanging off every word he said. I left the meeting thinking ‘Wow, this is a challenge I want to be a part of’. “I’ve had meetings with other managers and compared them but it wasn’t quite something like that. I’m really excited to be working with him.”
Lockyer told the club’s official website.
The gaffer did not hold back his excitement as he praised the player for his talent, dedication and commitment. Bristol Rovers held Charlton to a scoreless draw back in March and Lockyer, in the heart of the backline, led his former side to a clean sheet defying the odds.
His performance that afternoon might have influenced Bowyer into keeping close tabs on the defender and making a move after clinching a return to the Championship defeating Sunderland in a dramatic playoff final. Although it would be a massive challenge for Charlton to escape a straight relegation, the signings they have made so far are quite fascinating. The fans must be excited to see them featuring for the Red Robins week in week out.