Contract negotiations have rumbled on for the majority of the season at Charlton for both players and the manager.

Lee Bowyer, who’s contract is set to expire this summer admits he’s been in no rush to put pen to paper on fresh terms, instead choosing to prioritise Sunday’s League One play-off final with Sunderland.

“We’ve been in talks but to be honest there was no point talking when there’s three weeks left of a football season,” he said.

“I’d rather concentrate on this Sunday rather than my contract.”

With as many as 14 players either out of contract or returning to their parent clubs after Sunday’s trip to Wembley, the Club could see a squad decimated leaving only a handful of players under contract at The Valley.

“I don’t know how far the group will crumble,” Bowyer admitted if they were not gain promotion. “I’ve got five players on loan, who we are sending back better than they arrived, so every single one of them now maybe ready for the Championship or higher.

“So that’s out of our control.

“Then you have a bigger picture of where we are and where we’re going.

“It happens at every football club up and down the country, players come, players go.

“That’s the way it is.

“Some players go you don’t want to go but it happens.”

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One player who is out of contract but who’s been negotiating on new terms has been the in-demand midfielder Joe Aribo.

The Academy graduate has courted the attentions of Arsenal, Celtic, Rangers, Southampton and Tottenham this season, and Bowyer believes he is already capable of playing at a higher level.

“He has improved so much it’s frightening.

“He’s like a sponge, he takes everything in and uses it.

“He’s got so many strengths but my thing with Joe, and I’ve told him, he still has so much to learn, so for me this is the right club for him to learn at, but whether he stays or not is his decision.

Asked if promotion is the only way of keeping him at The Valley next season the manager quipped:

“It’ll help for sure!

“I’m a realist.

“Do I think he could play in the Championship next season? 100%, I just hope that it’s with us.”


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