Top 10: Championship stars destined for the Premier League
Tom Ince, Will Hughes & Sam Byram have all been linked with a summer switch to the Premier League
With Wilfried Zaha moving to Manchester United from Crystal Palace this summer, we take a look at which other Championship stars could join him in the top flight of English football. Here are ten players that look destined for the Premier League this summer, one way or another.
Troy Deeney | Watford
Hornets striker Troy Deeney has formed a cohesive unit up-front alongside the on-loan Matej Vydra which has helped propel Gianfranco Zola and his team to third place in The Championship, earning the club a play-off place and a chance to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2007.
The pair scored 39 goals between them in the current campaign and asserted themselves as perhaps the most formidable strike partnership in the entire division. Deeney's goal return this season saw him linked with a move to Aston Villa during the January transfer window. Zola stated that Deeney was improving with every game and felt he has the ability to step up to the next level.
Should Watford fail to gain promotion to the Premier League, the club will face a real fight to keep a hold of Deeney who's goals have been instrumental in ensuring Watford remain in contention to go up this season.
Yannick Bolasie | Crystal Palace
Having already lost one of their star players to Manchester United, Crystal Palace will certainly want to keep a hold of fellow winger, Yannick Bolasie.
The DR Congo international was born in Lyon, France and joined The Eagles this season from recently-relegated Bristol City. Given the first season he has had with the play-off contenders, many Palace fans have rated Bolasie as better than the outgoing Zaha.
His stunning form in his second season in The Championship has not gone unnoticed and whether Palace gain promotion or not, the club can expect offers from Premier League sides. Should The Eagles be flying high in the top tier once again come September, that could be enough to persuade the winger to stay.
It is highly likely that one way or another Bolasie will be lining up in the Premier League next season, but who will he be with? Crystal Palace will be hopeful that the winger is still a member of their squad when the transfer window bell tolls on September 1st.
Liam Bridcutt | Brighton & Hove Albion
Seagulls manager Gus Poyet has previously stated that midfielder Liam Bridcutt is good enough to play for Real Madrid one day. He has been a key figure for Brighton in the club's promotion push and has helped his side earn a play-off place by virtue of finishing fourth in The Championship this season.
A product of Chelsea's youth academy, Bridcutt does the dirty work in midfield and has helped the club drive forward this season by creating more freedom for Brighton's attacking players.
Poyet has been full of praise for the defensive midfielder since he joined The Seagulls in 2010. He was named the club's player of the season in 2012 and earned his first cap for Scotland earlier this year.
If Brighton are promoted via the play offs this season, Bridcutt may be featuring in England's top tier sooner than expected.
Nathan Redmond | Birmingham City
It has been an average 2012/13 season for Birmingham City and manager Lee Clark. Finishing 12th in The Championship despite automatic promotion being the intended target during pre-season. However, teenage talent Nathan Redmond has had a good season for his hometown club. Playing 38 games in The Championship at his age isn't something to be overlooked.
With The Blues remaining in the second tier of English football, it surely won't be long before Redmond makes the step up to the Premier League. It could be this summer as last year he was linked with a move away but decided to remain in Birmingham.
He has been described by Birmingham's youth academy manager as the next Ashley Young or Aaron Lennon due to his pace which gives him the edge over most fullbacks in the league. The 19-year-old winger has also represented England at every youth level from Under 16s to Under 19s - a step up to the big league beckons for this bright young star.
Matt Phillips | Blackpool
Matt Phillips has already experienced a season in the top flight with Blackpool during the club's Premier League campaign in 2010/11, making over 27 appearances as the side were relegated back to The Championship. Nonetheless the experience was invaluable to the Scottish international as he has looked a class above many defenders in the second tier, producing some dazzling displays this season.
Whether he'll remain with The Tangerines for much longer is a topic for question. The club rejected a £5 million offer from Southampton last summer for the winger, meaning he is being scouted by Premier League sides.
Blackpool could be forced to sell fellow winger Tom Ince this summer and should Phillips follow him to the Premier League, Blackpool are going to be short on service from the wings next season. We could see the 22-year-old giving nightmares to defenders in the top tier come September.
Sam Byram | Leeds United
Another member of the famed Leeds academy that has produced the likes of England internationals such as Aaron Lennon of Tottenham and James Milner of Manchester City. Byram was voted Leeds United Players' Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Fans Player of the Year for his outstanding performances for the Yorkshire club this season.
He proved his class with a fantastic display in Leeds' FA Cup fourth round win over Spurs in January. Byram primarily plays as a right-back but due to his versatile playing style he is capable of playing on the wing or in centre midfield if needs be.
After an impressive campaign, speculation surrounded the youngster's future with Premier League clubs such as Manchester City willing to spend up to £8 million to gain his signature. Byram however has stated he wants to help Leeds earn promotion to the top tier of English football but could well be playing there before his current club by the time the summer transfer window draws to a close.
Will Hughes | Derby County
The Derby youngster became the second youngest player to represent England's Under 21 team after Theo Walcott in November of last year at the age of 17. Hughes is one of the country's hottest properties, attracting attention from a whole host of Premier League clubs as well as Spanish giants Barcelona.
It has been said by Rams manager Nigel Clough that Hughes has the potential to become a world class player in the future. He completed his first full season in professional football during this campaign, playing 35 Championship games and impressing throughout.
He was named the Sammy Crooks Young Player of the Year earlier this season for the progress and maturity he has shown since being promoted to Derby's first-team squad.
Charlie Austin | Burnley
After a couple of years in the lower divisions, Charlie Austin joined Burnley in 2011. His first full season ended with the striker scoring 16 goals during the 2011/12 league campaign. That was impressive however Austin has established himself as the club's key player this season.
In November of last year, he broke a Burnley record as he became the quickest ever in the club's history to score 20 goals in all competitions courtesy of the winner in a 1-0 over Leeds. At that stage of the season the striker had averaged more than a goal a game with 20 in 17 appearances.
By the end of 2012, Austin's goal tally was at 23. He ended the season with 28 goals but suffered an injury which cost him the last two months of the campaign. Burnley finished in 11th place in The Championship, five places off the play-offs, but may have ended the season higher had their star man remained fit for the final few games.
Jordan Rhodes | Blackburn Rovers
The Scottish international joined Blackburn last summer for a fee of £8 million from Huddersfield Town. How the Lancashire club needed his goals due to the problems going on behind the scenes, notably the frequent manager changes this season.
Through all the drama, Rhodes notched up 29 league goals which helped Blackburn secure their Championship status for another season and will look to gain promotion to the Premier League next term.
Unsurprisingly the Scottish striker was voted as the club's player of 2012/13 and celebrated this achievement with arguably his best goal in a Blackburn shirt thus far with a chip from an acute angle against Crystal Palace in April.
Rhodes has shown he could step up to The Championship from League One, should he move to the Premier League in the summer, can he continue to bang in the goals at England's highest level?
Tom Ince | Blackpool
Arguably The Championship's hottest property right now, Ince began the 2012/13 season with a brace in a 2-0 win over Millwall. It was the beginning of a very successful year for the 21-year-old highly-rated winger.
Part of the Blackpool side that is currently managed by his father and former Manchester United, Inter Milan and Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince, the second generation star is speculated to be under the radar of many Premier League sides including former club Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
18 goals this season is the best strike rate from a winger in the league, meaning it was no surprise that Ince was voted joint best player in the Football League with Wilfried Zaha by Four Four Two magazine based on his performances over the last eight months.
It could be argued that Ince has enjoyed a better season than that of the Manchester United-bound Zaha but one thing remains certain, it won't be long before we see the England Under 21 international lining up for a club in the Premier League.
Though Blackpool will be reluctant to sell their star player, it's hard to imagine that the former Liverpool youngster will be kept away from the promised land for much longer.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://bit.ly/12nAsNY
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.