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Championship

As others complain Millwall have taken full advantage of Wolves investment

Ben Marshall, George Saville and Jed Wallace have all become key players for Millwall.

Mathew Nash

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Whilst Wolves have romped away with the Championship this season, there’s may not be the biggest story from the second-tier this season. Millwall look like they could be the extraordinary tale of the 2017-18 season. Despite nobody tipping them to do so, the London side are currently in the play-off places after an exceptional second-half of the season.

Neil Harris has led his side of misfits and outcasts to an incredible run of form and Millwall are now firm promotion candidates.

But the two events should not be considered mutually exclusive.

Wolves’ rise to the top of the Championship table has come at a cost for many players. The Fosun era at Molineux saw the club sign some of the best talent the Championship has ever seen.

(Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

The problem this presented for several Wolves players, however, was simple – where would they go?

Millwall have certainly taken full advantage of that situation. Firstly there is the midfield pair of Jed Wallace and George Saville.

Both were signed from Wolves as first-team opportunities at the club dried up with the influx of new recruits. The pair, who are both young combatant midfielders, have become key members of the Millwall team. Wallace has played 40 times in the Championship this season, scoring six times and registering nine assists. Saville has performed just as well. In 43 league games, he has 10 goals and one assist.

Then there is Ben Marshall. Paul Lambert brought Marshall to Wolves last January. When he was replaced by Nuno Espirito Santo and a whole heap of Jorge Mendes lads started arriving, Marshall was pushed down the pecking order.

(Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

In January, he headed to Millwall on loan and has been in great form since. The 27-year-old has three goals and five assists in just 13 appearances.

Put those totals together and the trio of Wolves rejects have contributed 19 goals and 15 assists to the Millwall cause this season.

Whilst many of the teams in the Championship have moaned about Wolves’ apparent transfer disparity, Millwall have taken full advantage of it.

The end result could see Neil Harris’ side joining Wolves in the Premier League next season.

Monaco

“First of many” – Some Nottingham Forest fans react to Gil Dias’ wonder goal

The Portuguese youngster has signed for Forest on a season-long loan.

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Dias
Photo: Getty Images

Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka has been extremely busy reshaping his squad during this summer and a series of high profile signings have given the Reds’ long-suffering supporters optimism ahead of the forthcoming campaign.

The Championship outfit have signed no fewer than nine players so far during the off season and it seems likely that Karanka will add more signings to his squad of players before the big August kick-off.

One man who has joined the Reds this summer is Gil Dias who has signed on a season-long loan from French giants Monaco and the 21-year-old has arrived with a big reputation and a glowing reference from agent Jorge Mendes.

(Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Dias is one of several new signings who has been hoping to impress his new boss during a pre-season tour of Marbella and his wonder strike in a 3-0 win over Malaga this morning has firmly excited the Forest faithful.

After picking the ball up close to the half-way line, Dias danced past several defenders before calmly finishing under the advancing goalkeeper to give the Reds a 1-0 lead.

Given the nature of his first goal for the club some Forest fans were absolutely buzzing on Twitter, whilst Dias himself spoke of his delight at notching for the first time in the famous red.

Here we looked at some of the best tweets in reaction to Dias’ sensational goal…

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Manchester City

Oleksandr Zinchenko will thrive if given first-team football at Wolves next season

Wolves are reportedly interested in bringing the talented youngster to Molineux.

Liam Thomas

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Oleksandr Zinchenko
Photo: Getty Images

Manchester City‘s talented youngster Oleksandr Zinchenko looks set to leave the Premier League champions this summer in search of first team football.

According to the Telegraph, Wolves boss Nuno Espírito Santo is keen on bringing the wing back into his exciting setup, for a reported fee of £16 million.

Zinchenko started only six times for Pep Guardiola’s record breaking side last season and showed glimpses of what he could achieve if given a sufficient amount of game time.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Wolves seem the perfect destination for Zinchenko at this stage in his career and the ambitious west Midlands club are showing no signs of fear going into the new Premier League season.

At 21 years of age, Zinchenko has already featured 16 times for his country; Ukraine and filled in for the absent Benjamin Mendy last season for City and proved he was more than capable of mixing it with the leagues best when needed.

The chance to play under the enigmatic Nuno Espírito Santo certainly puts Zinchenko in an environment to thrive, and the Ukrainian international will in no doubt take with him to Molineux what Pep Guardiola has taught him during his time at the Citizens.

“He is a talented player, so clear, so clean. The way he plays, his decisions are always perfect. As a young player, I hope in the future he will help us.”

– Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, speaking about Oleksandr Zinchenko last season.

Given the opportunity to play week in, week out will only improve Zinchenko’s already undeniable talent, and his versatility to play anywhere in the midfield would be a real weapon for Wolves to have at their disposal.

Zinchenko is undoubtedly a coaches dream, with a high footballing IQ and never ending relentless energy he could become a valuable member of Wolves’ set up for the 2018/19 Premier League season.

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Leeds United

Leeds’ loan signing of Jamal Blackman adds much-needed goalkeeping depth

Max Cohen

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Jamal Blackman
Photo: Getty Images

On Monday, Leeds United announced the loan signing of goalkeeper Jamal Blackman from Chelsea.

The 24-year-old Englishman represents an astute signing on Marcelo Bielsa’s part, adding much-needed depth and Championship experience to the squad.

This summer, the Yorkshire club have seen nine players depart Elland Road, including goalkeepers Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan.

As a result of this large turnover, the Whites have been left extremely short-staffed between the sticks, with only 21-year-old Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the mix with meaningful first-team experience.

Blackman is a smart addition to the squad as it is clear more goalkeeping options are needed, and it would be naive to allow Peacock-Farrell to occupy the undisputed number one spot when he only has 12 Championship appearances to his name.

Although the youngster’s performances during the final months of last season showed his impressive potential, Peacock-Farrell nevertheless conceded 18 goals and kept just a solitary clean sheet in 11 matches.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

In future seasons, the 21-year-old will be trusted with the starting spot but, for now, Jamal Blackman is a more effective option and can teach Peacock-Farrell about goalkeeping in the Championship.

Blackman made 31 appearances for Sheffield United last season, steering the Blades to an impressive tenth-placed finish, nine points above Leeds. The goalkeeper kept nine clean sheets and only conceded 34 goals, a laudable feat.

In addition, Chelsea experts think highly of the goalkeeper, as the club has continued to hold to his services permanently after numerous loan spells – perhaps indicating they hold out hope he can perform for the Blues at a top level one day.

Speaking to Leeds Live, football.london Chelsea writer Oliver Harbord praised Blackman’s saving abilities.

“He comes with the reputation of being a top shotstopper with some excellent reactions.”

In all, the season-long loan signing of Jamal Blackman is a smart piece of business from Leeds, bolstering their threadbare goalkeeping options with a highly-rated young shot-stopper.

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