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Championship

Leeds United should target u-20 World Cup winner Callum Connolly this summer

Everton’s Joe Williams has been linked with Leeds United this week, but Connolly could be a better option.

Mathew Coull

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This week has seen Leeds United manager Paul Heckingbottom being linked with moves for three players he knows from his time at former club Barnsley. It was reported by the Sun (18/3 pg 60) that Leeds could make a triple swoop for striker Oliver McBurnie, defender Andy Yiadom and midfielder Joe Williams.

Heckingbottom signed Williams for Barnsley in the summer on loan from Everton. The 21-year-old has since made himself a mainstay in the team as the Tykes battle at the bottom of the Championship.

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 31: Joe Williams of Barnsley celebrates scoring his team’s third goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Burton Albion and Barnsley at Pirelli Stadium on October 31, 2017 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

But whilst Williams would be an excellent recruit for Leeds, another Everton midfielder on loan in the Championship should also be considered. The player in question is Callum Connolly. The 20-year-old is currently enjoying a loan spell at Ipswich Town. Recently however, he made it clear he could leave Everton in the summer, telling Green’Un 24:

“Anything can happen. Let’s see what happens between now and the end of the season.

“Obviously I’m enjoying my football at Ipswich Town and I’ve been made to feel at home here, even though it is a long way from home.

“I’ve had contact with Everton, but not as much as I expected. I think they’ve just let me get on with my football.

“There hasn’t been as much support as I’ve wanted to be honest…”

Connolly would be another great acquisition by Leeds. The youngster has shown on his loan spell at Ipswich that he is more than capable at the Championship level.

The England under-20 World Cup winner is, like Williams, known to Heckingbottom. Connolly featured three times for Barnsley during a one-month loan deal back in March 2016. At the time Heckingbottom was the caretaker manager at Barnsley, later going on to secure their promotion to the Championship and the EFL Trophy.

IPSWICH, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 02: Callum Connolly of Ipswich Town celebrates his opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest at Portman Road on December 2, 2017 in Ipswich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Connolly is highly thought of at Everton by the fanbase but clearly the structure at Goodison Park at present has failed him. The 20-year-old, who has scored three times for Ipswich this season, is clearly concerned about where his career is going if he remains at Everton long into the future.

Not only is he a brilliant central midfield option, but Connolly is extremely versatile. He made his Everton debut as a right-back and can play as a wing-back or right midfielder if called upon.

Leeds have struggled at the back this season, so having another option in that area would also be a good reason to sign Connolly.

Williams would be a good addition from Leeds. But Connolly might in fact be the better option if Heckingbottom is looking to bring in a familiar face from the past.

Aston Villa

Moussa Marega would be perfect for Aston VIlla should they get promoted

Josh Kerr

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Moussa Marega
Photo: Getty Images

According to the Birmingham Mail, Aston Villa are looking to sign Moussa Marega after the Porto striker’s asking price was dropped to £26 million.

Merega’s buy-out clause stood at £35 million, but Porto have been forced to lower their demands due to Financial Fair Play concerns, leaving Steve Bruce’s side in a perfect position to swoop for the Mali international.

The 27-year-old would be an addition of intent for the Villains, and perhaps the marquee signing that the fans would expect, should they be promoted at Wembley on Saturday afternoon.

Steve Bruce’s side were unable to show off their financial power this season due also to Financial Fair Play rules.

However, if they beat Fulham in the play-off final, the claret and blues will be in a position to spend heavily over the summer.

3-year-old Albert Adomah has been a revelation at Villa Park this season, firing 15 goals as well as contributing six assists, leading the scoring efforts for Bruce’s side.

(Photo by Francisco Leong/Getty Images)

However, if the Midlands outfit were to secure promotion on Saturday they would need further additions to adequately equip themselves for the gruelling nature of the Premier League. Marega would help them do just that.

The French-born forward scored 22 goals in the Primeira Liga as Porto ended their five-year wait for a league title, and now it looks as though he is ready for his next challenge, with a transfer appearing imminent.

Porto need to sell, and Villa need to invest if they are to see themselves grow into the Premier League juggernauts they once were, so it could be a move that benefits both parties.

However, the report also suggests that Wolves are in the hunting for the forward and, considering their track-record of attracting Porto stars in the past, the Villains must act quickly if they are to grab themselves an assured European goalscorer.

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Sunderland

Talented Jack Ross could be the man to end the misery at Sunderland

Josh Kerr

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Jack Ross
Photo: Getty Images

Highly-rated manager Jack Ross was officially unveiled as Sunderland boss today, and he could be the man that orchestrates the start of a comeback for one of football’s biggest fallen giants.

The former St Mirren poss was permitted to speak to the Black Cats about their vacant manager position after the club suffered back-to-back relegations, seeing them fall to Sky Bet League One.

Ross guided the Paisley side to the Scottish Championship title this season and had also had talks with English second-tier club Ipswich Town, as reported by the East Anglian Daily Times.

The former Hartlepool right-back will leave a legacy at St Mirren after he guided the Buddies back to the promised land of the Scottish Premiership.

(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images )

His departure will undoubtedly break St Mirren’s fans hearts. However, the job at Sunderland has obviously proven too difficult to turn down.

After the Black Cats were finally cleared of all their substantial debt, Ross will feel he is the man who can finally steer the club back in the right direction.

The 2018 PFA Scotland manager of the year is young and charismatic and could finally be a figure worthy of Sunderland supporters getting behind.

Ross is undeniably still a risk for Sunderland considering he has zero managerial experience in England.

However, the Scottish manager already has a promotion on his CV, and Black Cats supporters should see themselves fortunate that such a promising candidate has filled the vacant position.

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Wolves at risk of losing talented youngster Cameron John

The talented teenager could leave Molineux Stadium this summer.

Josh Kerr

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Photo: Getty Images

Talented youngster Cameron John is still yet to make his Wolverhampton Wanderers debut and the youngster is reportedly growing frustrated with his lack of game-time.

According to the Daily Mail (live transfer blog, 23/05/2018 10.50am), John is in the last year of his contract with the Midland’s side and the Premier League new boys are willing to listen to offers.

Despite not making a senior appearance at the Molineux Stadium, the 18-year-old is still hot property and a number of clubs are preparing to swoop for him.

A talented centre-back, who can also play on the left side of defence, John has impressed Scott Sellars’ in his Under-23 side over the past season and he may be rewarded with a move this summer that will see him rewarded with greater senior opportunities.

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Brighton, Stoke City and Norwich City are all showing an interest in the Wolves’ young centre-back and could make an imminent swoop.

The Championship would suit John more than the Premier League and Brighton have also recently signed Leon Balogun from Bundesliga club Mainz, meaning the south coast side may not see John as a potential starter, but rather an addition to strengthen their squad.

Also, Wolves are close to announcing Willy Boly on a permanent deal, which could be a message to John that he is not in manager Nuno’s long-term plans. Therefore, a move to Gary Rowett’s Stoke or Daniel Farke’s Norwich seems most likely.

It would be a surprising move for Wolves to allow one of their best talents to leave the club. However, with heavy summer investments imminent, the club are more likely to be focused on bringing ready-made Premier League players to the Midlands, which could mean the youngster is better-suited finding first-team football elsewhere.

At only 18 years of age, John undoubtedly has a bright future and the growing interest of teams only showcases the raw talent that he possesses. He is a talented youngster, but he finds himself at a crossroads in his career, and it will be interesting to see what will follow with his next move.

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