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Ryan Sessegnon is leading candidate to win Championship Player of the Year

The teenager has been nominated as one of the best players in the division.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

The end of season individual awards always provide talking points and there is a huge story brewing in the Championship.

17-year-old Ryan Sessegnon has been nominated to win the Player of the Season accolade, joining team-mate Tom Cairney and Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves on the shortlist.

The teenager has wowed supporters at Craven Cottage this season with his consistency and attacking quality.

Sessegnon has started all but one of Fulham’s matches so far and is currently the team’s leading scorer.

He has contributed 14 goals and five assists to date while proving his adaptability as he has featured in every position down the left wing.

It is rare enough for a teenager to play regularly in the top two divisions in England, but to perform to that high level is incredible.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Last season, the award was won by Brighton attacker Anthony Knockaert who operates in a similar position to Sessegnon, albeit on the opposite side of the pitch.

He finished the season with 15 goals and eight assists with a goal involvement every 156.5 minutes. The Frenchman averaged 2.3 chances created and 2.52 attempted shots per ninety minutes.

A quick look at Sessegnon’s stats from this season shows that he hasn’t been as influential as Knockaert was last season, but his end product has been as devastating.

The teenager has averaged 1.13 chances created and 1.26 attempted shots per ninety minutes. Meanwhile, his goal involvement stands at one every 184.1 minutes.

This comparison would suggest that Sessegnon hasn’t reached the level that Knockaert managed to last season, but it is worth noting that 19 of the teenager’s starts have come at left back.

Although he has still been given license to attack when used at left-back, it has definitely had an effect on his stats.

Moreover, with six matches still to play, the England youth international has the opportunity to surpass the Frenchman’s figures for both goals and assists.

Knockaert’s fortunes haven’t been as great since winning the award, as the Brighton winger has only three goals and one assist in the Premier League.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

This shows that there are no guarantees that the winner of this award will go on to thrive at the next level.

Other past winners include Andre Gray, Patrick Bamford, Danny Ings and Matej Vydra.

They have had varying levels of success in the Premier League, but none have become regular scorers in the top-flight. However, there is a different feeling with Sessegnon.

Not only does he deserve to be in contention for the award due to his form, but the narrative that it would provide makes him a good choice for it.

There is no doubt that Sessegnon is destined for bigger things. He could prove to be the most successful to emerge from the division in recent seasons.

The best comparison would be Dele Alli, who shone for MK Dons in League One before earning his move to Tottenham.

He won the Football League Young Player of the Year during the season before moving to North London, but even he didn’t win the individual award for the best player in the division he was playing in.

(Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

As discussed above, previous winners of the award have struggled to replicate their success in the Premier League, but that shouldn’t take away from their achievements in the Championship.

Sessegnon has delivered a similar level of consistency, while his age only goes to heighten his achievements.

If he can finish the season strongly and add to both his goals and assists, he will be the outstanding candidate to win the Player of the Season award in the Championship.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Nottingham Forest

Aitor Karanka should target reunion with Julien De Sart

The Belgian could be a great signing for Nottingham Forest.

Mathew Coull



It seems as though Belgian midfielder Julien De Sart will be looking for a new club this summer. He finds himself in a state of limbo after a season on loan at Zulte Waregem from Middlesbrough.

Despite being a regular for the Essevee he will not be making a permanent move to the club. According to Het Laatste Nieuws, the club will not be prioritising his €700,000 (£612,000) permanent deal agreed with Middlesbrough.

The 23-year-old will now return to the Riverside, where it appears he has no long-term future.

(Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

But should his former boss bring him to Nottingham Forest?

Aitor Karanka was the manager at Boro when De Sart was snapped up from Standard Liege back in 2016 and was considered one for the future on Teesside.

Now, the former Belgium under-21 international needs to find a new home and a reunion with Karanka at the City Ground could be a perfect move.

The central-midfielder would be a welcome addition for Forest, who need to strengthen across the park following another mediocre season.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

De Sart has impressed in the East Midlands before. He was finally showing what he could do during a loan spell with Derby County in 2017. Unfortunately, a change of manager saw him drop out of the side under Gary Rowett.

Forest, however, could offer him a second chance in the Championship and it would give Karanka a chance to properly work with a player he clearly rated just a couple of seasons ago.

He would be a cheap and known transfer option for the Nottingham Forest first-team squad. He would also arrive with a point to prove to his old boss Karanka and the manager at bitter rivals Derby, something Forest fans will certainly appreciate.

It would be an under-the-radar signing, but one which could act some genuine quality to the Forest midfield ahead of the new season.

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Derby County

Newcastle United should take advantage of Matej Vydra’s low asking fee

The Czech international has scored 20 goals in the Championship this season.

Josh Kerr



Matej Vydra
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United ensuring another season of Premier League football represents one of Rafael Benitez’ most impressive achievements in football to date.

The job done by the Spaniard is all the more admirable considering the Magpies striker options have been thin for large periods of the season, and the arrival of a goal-scorer is surely imminent for the Tyneside club.

According to The Telegraph, Derby County are likely to list their top-scorer Matej Vydra for sale after their failure to earn promotion to the Premier League.

This comes as massive news to a number of clubs in England’s top-flight, and Newcastle should be one of the front-runners queuing for the 26-year-old’s prolific services.

The Czech Republic international has been excellent this season firing 20 goals in 35 appearances for the Rams.

Reports suggest the club may be forced to sell their star striker in order to reduce the club’s £35 million wage bill ahead of next season.

The 26-year-old’s sale this summer will be Derby’s attempts to slash their budgets and form a strategy that is going to enable the club to push for promotion once again next season.

A fee of around £8 million could prove a major boost for Newcastle, considering the club’s financial restraints, and a 20-goal striker would surely be an improvement on Benitez’s current front-line options.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Islam Slimani’s loan move from Leicester proved to be a disaster, and the arrival of Joselu was one of the most disappointing transfers of the season.

The club are in desperate need of a goalscorer, with Perez leading the club’s individual efforts, despite being a number 10 and not an out-and-out goalscorer.

Vydra also has rare Premier League experience with West Bromwich Albion, as well as Watford, and his graft in the Championship may mean he’s ready for a return back to the top-flight.

The former West Brom striker guarantees goals and if there is one thing Tyneside supporters have missed in recent years, it is a goal-scoring hero.

At a little over £8 million, he could still prove a real bargain and a relatively insignificant risk.

Benitez has been wanting to break the bank since his arrival in 2016 but may be tempted do a deal on the cheap for the highly-rated striker.

Newcastle will be looking to improve on their impressive 10th place finish next season and the firepower of a genuine goalscorer could see them surpass the highs of this campaign.

Vydra offers pace and is even an aerial threat at just 5ft 2, so it has to be a priority for Newcastle to capture one of the bargains of the season and bring Vydra to St James’ Park.

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Birmingham City

Leeds must take advantage of Garry Monk’s misstep and snap up David Stockdale

The experienced shot-stopper would be a useful addition at Elland Road.

Max Cohen



David Stockdale
Photo: Getty Images

Rarely is a goalkeeper who was previously named in the Championship Team of the Year told he is surplus to requirements, but this fate appears to have befallen Birmingham City’s David Stockdale.

Leeds United must act quickly and sign Stockdale from Birmingham, reuniting the former Premier League goalie with his favourite club.

Stockdale starred for Brighton and Hove Albion in the 2016/17 Championship campaign, steering the Seagulls to automatic promotion while being named in the PFA Team of the Year.

When the Englishman signed for Birmingham the following summer, many lauded the move as one of the coups of the transfer window.

Yet, Stockdale endured a turbulent year at St Andrew’s as the club went through three managers and narrowly avoided relegation.

Nonetheless, it came as a surprise when the Birmingham Mail reported that manager Garry Monk would allow the 32-year-old keeper to leave this summer.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Stockdale enjoyed a strong end to the season as the Blues won five out of their last nine to stay up, keeping three clean sheets in the process.

Given his strong Championship pedigree and impressive recent form, it seems odd that Monk would allow Stockdale to depart this summer.

However, Birmingham’s loss could turn into Leeds’ gain, as the Yorkshire club would do well to acquire the Leeds-born shot-stopper.

The goalkeeper grew up in the city and is a Leeds supporter, and even had a trial with the club when he was 12.

Stockdale failed the trial back then but has a superb chance to move to Elland Road and deputise for his beloved childhood club.

The goalkeeper has been a problem position all year for Leeds.

According to Phil Hay of the Yorkshire Evening Post, summer signing Felix Wiedwald has “struggled to adapt” to the Championship, while Bailey Peacock-Farrell is relatively inexperienced at only 21 years of age.

The signing of David Stockdale would benefit all parties involved, reuniting the goalkeeper with his boyhood club and solving the positional dilemma at Elland Road.

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