The Premier League season is ready for yet another thrilling finish with Manchester City and Liverpool battling for the title. Although there’s still a lot of prize money to play for, not every team is what you would call 100% motivated for the matches still to come.
Managers and board members of teams who have nothing more than a midtable place to play for will already have turned their attentions to improving their squad for next season. Whilst every Premier League club has a scouting network that stretches all around the globe, many have had great success by staying much closer to home.
The Football League is full of quality players who are gagging for a chance to show that they can compete at the very top level and possibly even more gagging for the chance to earn the money that comes with it! A lot of players have taken the big step up from the Football League to become important players in the top flight so we thought we would mark your card with a list of 10 Championship footballers who may just be taking the Premier League by storm next season.
|Aston Villa||23||Attacking Midfielder||English|
If Aston Villa fans have their way, Jack Grealish will become an important Premier League player for the Villans next season. Villa’s talismanic midfielder has undoubtedly been one of the players of the season in the Championship with his combination of flair and work ethic proving to be a key element of their incredible end of season climb up the table.
Grealish has already tasted playoff despair with his boyhood club but this time around Aston Villa go into them with increased confidence. The England Under 21 international surely knows that his future is in the Premier League even if Villa’s is not, with rumours of a move to Tottenham and Crystal Palace continuing to swirl. Grealish is very much Premier League quality and it would be no surprise if he got a place in England’s squad for the 2020 European Championships.
Every Premier League manager wants a goalscorer they can rely on so it would be something of a shock if not one of them decides to take a shot on Neal Maupay over the summer. The Brentford hitman has a competitive spirit that sometimes sees him overstep the line but it’s the driving force behind a very strong season in which he’s broken the 20 goal mark.
When Maupay left his native France for the Championship some believed that it was the mark of a player who was destined to see his potential unfulfilled. The quality and consistency of his performances in such a competitive league suggest otherwise and Maupay may well be seen leading the line for a Premier League team next season.
|Swansea City||21||Attacking Midfielder||Welsh|
Team GB have taken a novel approach to finding potential medallists in recent years. They have targeted sportspeople who excelled in more general terms including speed, strength and dexterity who could be moulded to be top class performers in sports which they hadn’t before taken seriously. In a similar vein, top flight football teams have taken risks on players with one or more outstanding physical attribute in the hope that their coaching can turn them into a top class performer.
It would be unfair on Daniel James’ technical ability to suggest that he is a one trick pony but there is no doubt his incredible pace is very much his main weapon. Swansea saw enough in him at a very young age to poach him from Hull’s youth setup. A solid season which has included a number of standout moments may be enough for a Premier League to take a similar approach with the 21-year-old over the summer.
Jamie Vardy’s story of going through early rejection, working his way through the lower leagues and then becoming a Premier League star is a real source of inspiration for younger players who suffer setbacks in the early part of their careers. Joe Lolley didn’t have the Vardy story to cling to when he was released by Birmingham City in 2008 but he showed incredible determination to keep working hard after that disappointment to get back into the professional ranks, first with Huddersfield and then with Nottingham Forest.
The 26-year-old winger has yet to convince every Forest fan that he is a top class player but his 10 goals and 11 assists in a team who have struggled going forwards this season is not to be sniffed at. He’s shown he has the mental fortitude to cope with a big challenge which, added with his technical ability, could see him become a Premier League player over the summer.
Graham Potter arrived in South Wales with hopes high of leading Swansea back into the Premier League. Unfortunately, things have not worked out that way for him thanks to a real lack of support from the Swans’ hierarchy. Potter has seen many of his best players sold which has forced him to rely on a number of younger players including Joe Rodon.
The 21-year-old could be forgiven for folding under the pressure of playing a key role in a struggling team’s back line but he has risen to the challenge impressively. Rodon’s performances for Swansea have seen him included in the Wales setup. He’s getting a lot of experience early in his career and is a ball-playing centre back, the likes of which are very much in vogue in the Premier League. Rodon’s potential coupled with Swansea’s propensity to sell means a deal that sees him leave the club is a real possibility.
|Sheffield United||28||Midfielder||Northern Irish|
Oliver Norwood has already had the opportunity to establish himself as a Premier League midfielder. The central midfielder was a product of the Manchester United youth academy and played a key role for several Championship sides, including in Brighton and Fulham’s promotion winning seasons. For one reason or another, neither Chris Hughton nor Slavisa Jokanovic believed that he had the quality for the top flight but it should be very different this time around.
Norwood’s passing and vision have become absolutely crucial for Sheffield United as they close in on promotion to the Premier League. He made his loan move to Bramall Lane permanent in the January transfer window and can finally show that he has the quality to thrive in the top flight with the Blades.
|Norwich City||22||Attacking Midfielder||Argentinian|
Emiliano Buendia is another player who will be taking the step up to the Premier League with his current team. The Argentine winger was signed with only a modest fanfare by Norwich last summer for a fee of £1.5 million but he has become a key component of Daniel Farke’s hugely impressive team.
Buendia has bags of ability going forwards but it’s his work in a defensive sense that is likely to make him a Premier League starter for the Canaries next season. Farke will need his team to quickly adapt to not being favourites so wants players who will work hard to keep the opposition out but can also take and create chances. Buendia has shown he can do just that in the Championship and after a year adapting to English football is likely to take promotion in his stride.
Tottenham have led the way in many regards when it comes to picking out younger players from the Football League and it is no surprise that they have been linked with a move for Jarrod Bowen in the summer. The 22-year-old has impressed with his attacking quality and versatility for Hull this season and may well leave the Tigers with a healthy transfer fee as a return for the faith they’ve shown in him.
Bowen has a lethal left foot which is a real weapon when he cuts in from the right flank. However, he also has the presence of mind and intelligence to play as a number 10 which suggests he will fit in at Spurs very well should Mauricio Pochettino come calling.
|Aston Villa (loan)||21||Striker||English|
Chelsea’s stockpiling of impressive young players only to farm them out on loan has not won them universal praise. The Blues have provided countless Football League clubs with excellent players for a year or more and Aston Villa have certainly got a lot out of Tammy Abraham this season.
Abraham’s goals have helped propel Aston Villa into the playoffs after a poor spell but he was already catching the eye earlier in the season. Wolves enquired about his availability as they believed he would bolster their attacking options in the Premier League and whilst Abraham chose to remain with Villa until the end of the season, he has a wealth of potential options next term, when he should be scoring regularly in the Premier League.
|Birmingham City||24||Wing Back||Danish|
Birmingham City have had a very interesting season. Blues fans would have settled for a little less drama both on and off the pitch but there are many reasons to be cheerful including the performances of their left back, Kristian Pederson.
The Danish 24-year-old hasn’t quite been an ever-present in the Championship but he has become one of the first names on the team sheet thanks to his incredible levels of consistency. That he is still far from the finished article could be a real plus for his chances of playing Premier League football as there is a lot of improvement that a top class coaching staff can make, so Pederson is surely on the shortlist of many top flight sides.