Dons offered Lyle Taylor “exceptional contract” – but expected to sign for League One rival

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Neal Ardley is not expecting Lyle Taylor back at AFC Wimbledon next season – even though the striker has yet to decide his future.

The striker has been a leading light for the Dons but is a free agent at the end of this month.

We exclusively revealed Charlton’s interest in January and also know that Southend have made Taylor an offer. Sunderland and Bristol Rovers have also been linked.

Ardley told the South London Press: “At the end of last season I had a good chat with Lyle and his agent. We put in an exceptional offer, for us, to try and keep him.

“Without Lyle actually saying it, the feeling is he has done a wonderful job over the last three years and has seen some of his team-mates go on to bigger and better things

“His heart may be at challenging himself at a slightly bigger club in his prime, I don’t blame him.

“Without him saying anything to me or telling me he’s not coming back, I’m pretty confident that Lyle has got a number of clubs in for him and is going to choose one of them to take him to the next level of his career.

“But I’m not sitting around scratching my backside, I’m out looking for a replacement.”

Taylor had told our paper that he wanted to play Championship football next season but so far the links have been to more heavily-resourced rivals in League One.

“He has got the ability to play in the Championship,” said Ardley. “Has he got the consistency to play in the Championship? Are there ones looking thinking he could be a bit of a gamble or a solid option? I don’t know.

“There is a small chance that Lyle will end up at a Championship club but I would’ve thought he would probably end up getting a decent contract at a good League One club, that’s more likely.”

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