The Championship is a league that is showcasing more and more quality as each season progresses with teams spending millions in order to ensure that they can reach English football’s lucrative top flight. This increase in ability throughout the lower tiers of the English footballing pyramid has resulted in an increased amount of players getting signed for Premier League sides as they look to ensure survival, or push into the higher reaches of the league. A number of the best talents in the division including Callum Wilson, Matt Ritchie, and Troy Deeney have already made the step up with their respective sides. This increase in quality has also led to a massive increase in fees spent on players – the sort of massive fees that are usually reserved for top division players. Ross McCormack and Leonardo Ulloa are main examples of this growing trend with fees accompanying them of £11m and £8m respectively.
There are a number of players who have already made the move up to the Premier League following strong seasons for their clubs and despite their own failure to reach the top flight through promotion – they have achieved a lucrative move to new pastures.
Tyrone Mings, 22, Full-Back, £8m to Bournemouth
A fan-favourite at Portman Road following a strong season on the pitch and acts of generosity off it. A tall and powerful player who has been linked with a move to more established Premier League clubs than the Cherries, who will certainly be fancying their chances of building a strong back line following the arrival of Mings. Eddie Howe himself has commented on the “huge potential” that Mings holds and with youth on his side – it is easy to see why fans may expect the ex-Chippenham Town man to become a key part of their inaugural Premier League campaign.
Adam Federici, 30, Goalkeeper, Free Transfer to Bournemouth
Another Bournemouth recruit, Australian stopper Federici will no doubt be best remembered by fans for his unfortunate error that resulted in Reading’s exit from the FA Cup Semi-Final against Arsenal at Wembley. However, Federici was recently voted Reading’s player of the season and has become a favourite among Reading fans for his ability to show great athleticism and keep his side in games. If he is given a chance to be the number 1 at Bournemouth he could prove to a fantastic signing for Eddie Howe as they enter their debut season in the Premier League.
Joe Gomez, 18, Full-Back/Centre-Back, £3.5m to Liverpool
A graduate of the impressive academy at Charlton, Gomez was handed his Championship debut just 3 months after his 17th birthday and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Gomez has the perfect combination of a cool-head and great athleticism which allow him to look like a seasoned pro despite his young age. A player who loves to have the ball at feet and moves it in a disciplined manner with great ease. A natural centre back who is largely expected to go out on loan, his ability to play right back will lead him to feel that he can follow in the footsteps of fellow Londoners Raheem Sterling and Jordan Ibe in establishing himself as first team regular at Anfield.
There are also a number of players that are linked with possible moves to the Premier League who haven’t quite seen deals materialise for their services as of yet following the inevitable rumour mill during the off-season.
Jota, 24, Attacking Midfielder, Brentford
A key part of Brentford’s playoff push last season, who had some great performances following his move from Celta Vigo of Spain in August 2014. A lively and skilful player, with a definite eye for goal scoring 11 goals in 46 appearances for the Bees. There has been some interest coming from the likes of Bournemouth and Leicester in securing his signature and he could certainly prove himself to be a very productive signing for anyone who managed to get the Spaniard in their squad.
Bakary Sako, 27, Attacking Midfielder, Wolves
Available on a free transfer following the expiry of his current deal at Wolves. The Malian international has gained a reputation as fearsome opponent due to his direct running and imposing athleticism and will certainly still be haunting a few Championship defenders’ dreams as he helped himself to 15 goals during the course of the season. Widely tipped for a Premier League move with manager Kenny Jackett expecting the PFA Championship Team of the Year player to move on from Molineux this summer. Sako could certainly offer a great deal to a top flight club if he is allowed to roam the midfield and can replicate his form from the 2014/15 season.
George Friend, 27, Full-Back/Centre-Back, Middlesbrough
Another inductee into the most recent PFA Championship Team of the Year, Friend has been constantly under transfer speculation since his move to Teeside in 2012. One of the most capable players in the division, Friend has consistently shown high quality performances particularly in the 2014/15 campaign as he played a key role in the Middlesbrough’s run to the playoff final where they were defeated by Norwich.
Daryl Murphy, 32, Striker, Ipswich
It would be hard not to include this man as he has been scoring goals for fun this season finishing with a very impressive 27 goals in the Championship. At 32, the Republic of Ireland international is certainly no spring chicken – but it is hard to argue that his goal-scoring talents could be of assistance to a number of top flight sides. Murphy most recently featured in the Premier League with Sunderland in 2010 and may see this as his last opportunity to play in English football’s top tier.
Keiren Westwood, 30, Goalkeeper, Sheffield Wednesday
Another Republic of Ireland and Championship Team of the Year inductee, Westwood has shown some exceptional form to see himself become one of the standout goalkeepers in the Championship. A terrific shot-stopper known for his great reflex saves, Westwood also has some top-flight experience already under his belt from his time at Sunderland – Westwood could find himself surrounded by some interest during the remainder of the off-season progresses.
Chris Martin, 26, Striker, Derby
A lethal goal-scorer who has gone from strength to strength in the last couple of seasons. A strong and physically dominant forward who this season was rewarded with several Scotland caps by manager Gordon Strachan. Martin scored an impressive 18 goals in the 2014/15 campaign despite injury problems, and at 26 could offer the best years of his career to a Premier League side who would have to pay a sizeable sum to secure his signature from Derby County.
Will Hughes, 20, Midfielder, Derby
A terrific young talent from the Derby academy who has shown terrific ability beyond his years since his debut in 2011/12 season. An excellent passer who possesses a terrific ability to read the game, Hughes is a regular in the England under 21 setup and has been tipped by many to become a future England star. Derby have Hughes under contract until 2018 so it would take a sizeable fee to lure him away from the iPro Stadium, but it could prove a good investment for a Premier League side with the likes of Spurs reportedly interested in the services of Hughes.
Feel free to comment with any players who you feel this article should have included or players from your side that you think would be deserving of a move into the Premier League in the near future.
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Goncalo Guedes and Andre Gomes would make Wolves top-six contenders
Wolves have been linked with a move for the Portuguese pair this week.
Wolverhampton Wanderers fans are getting used to seeing their team linked with big names. But two of the players linked in the last seven days would truly take the club to a new level. The Portuguese pairing of Barcelona’s Andre Gomes and PSG’s Goncalo Guedes are both being linked with moves to Molineux.
Of course, the common denominator is their agent. Jorge Mendes represents both players and has previously facilitated their moves to Valencia.
Now both players are said to be available at their clubs, who are trying to balance Financial Fair Play.
According to The Sun, the Barcelona midfielder Gomes is available for around £30 million. Guedes, who was chosen to lead the line with Cristiano Ronaldo at the World Cup recently, is set to be sold by the French champions who need to balance their books in the eyes of UEFA.
According to Get French Football, PSG need to raise around £53 million by July from player sales. The club wants a fee of up to €60 million (£52 million) for the player but there appears an acceptance that €45 million (£39.3 million) might get the job done.
If Wolves have that sort of money available from the Fosun group then spending nearly £70 million on the Portuguese dup would be a magical piece of business.
Both are excellent commodities who would walk into many of the top clubs in European football. If Wolves were to actually bring them in, with talk of Rui Patricio also abounding, then they would be serious contenders for the Premier League top six next season.
Should Uwe Rosler offer Pawel Cibicki a Leeds United escape route?
The Swedish forward has struggled to make an impact at Leeds United.
Last summer Leeds United beat off plenty of competition to sign Swedish attacker Pawel Cibicki from Malmo. As reported by The Sun the forward cost Leeds a fee in the region of £1.5 million and it seemed a wise deal. Capable of playing anywhere across the front-line the Malmo star was known to current Leeds star Pontus Jansson and looked something of a coup.
That has not been the case.
The 24-year-old played just 10 times for Leeds this season and despite impressing some fans, even bagging two assists, he was not given a prolonged chance under either Thomas Christiansen or Paul Heckingbottom.
Therefore, his future seems to be away from Elland Road and perhaps a return to Malmo would be the best option for the player.
If he did so he would be joining up with someone else who knows all about the brittle nature of a Leeds career. Uwe Rosler was recently appointed the new boss at the Swedish powerhouse.
The German lasted just 12 games as Leeds manager before being given the ceremonial axe by ‘manager-eater’ and former chairman Massimo Cellino.
Now he is being tasked with taking Malmo to the next level and fans at the club would love to see Cibicki back at the Swedbank Stadium. It could prove to be a match made in Leeds reject heaven.
Leeds United should target Marcelo Bielsa teacher’s pet Stephane Sparagna
Leeds United’s new boss was a big fan of Sparagna at Marseille.
Leeds United have completed one of the more eye-catching managerial appointments in Championship history, with the appointment of Argentine legend Marcelo Bielsa before the weekend.
The former Athletic Bilbao and Marseille boss is a cult hero in the sport for his revolutionary tactics and influence on some of the best young managers in the world today.
He also often sees things in certain players that others don’t. He can make a player thrive, who then falls away once he departs. Aurtenetxe at Athletic Bilbao a prime example. From playing in the Europa League final and being on the verge of the Spanish national team, to being released by Dundee.
Another player who fits this bill is French central defender Stephane Sparagna.
Bielsa plucked him from the reserves back in 2014 just as his Marseille career appeared to be dwindling away. Bielsa quickly turned him into a squad regular and soon Arsenal were snooping. When Bielsa left, Sparagna fell out of favour – with injuries also a contributing factor.
But Bielsa’s influence cannot be understated. Sparagna said so himself, telling Europe1 Sports that the Argentine was the ‘only one who believed in him.’
Nowadays the 23-year-old is impressing in Portuguese football with Boavista but Leeds need a new central defender. They need players Bielsa can trust, especially if a three at the back formation is implemented at Elland Road.
The former French youth international underwent corrective knee surgery in May but is expected back for the new season.
Considering he would be an affordable, trustworthy former Bielsa product in a position that Leeds need reinforcements, Sparagna would be a welcome recruit.
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