The English Championship is getting better all the time. The toughness of the league can be best shown by Wolves and Blackburn’s troubles this term despite being among the favourites to be promoted back to the Premier League.
There is plenty of talent in the division and lots of gems to be found, but which are the top five with the most realistic chance of securing a Premier League move this summer? This list does not include players from teams still with a chance of promotion.
1. Sam Byram (Leeds United)
Sam Byram has been a real revelation for Leeds Unite this year. While the club has endured a difficult season that has seen Neil Warnock come and go as manager amidst a (very) brief flirtation with relegation, Byram has come seemingly from nowhere to establish himself as one of the division’s best right backs.
He has impressed so much that he’s even manage to oust club captain Lee Peltier from his favoured position. The 19-year-old is likely to have plenty of suitors in the summer, and Leeds have consistently shown they are willing to cash in on products of their youth academy. Whoever does take a punt on this youngster could have a real player on their hands.
2. Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn Rovers)
Jordan Rhodes does something that is almost invaluable in football – scores goals. The 23 year old scored an incredible 73 goals in 124 games for Huddersfield in League 1, and he hasn’t slowed down since securing an £8 million move to Blackburn Rovers.
This season he’s notched 26 goals in 42 games and finds himself as the Championship’s second top scorer. Rhodes is a real fox in the box, poaching on any opportunity to put the ball in the net. There will surely be some Premier League sides sniffing around in the summer, whether or not Rovers let him go is another question.
3. Tom Ince (Blackpool)
Since leaving Liverpool for Blackpool in 2011 Ince has been in inspired form. Despite playing on the wing he’s managed 24 goals in 76 appearances, and at just 21-years-old he still has plenty of time left to get better.
One stumbling block may be that his father and manager, Paul Ince, insists that his son is worth upwards of £25 million.
Liverpool have been linked with a move for their former youth star, but whether or not they’re willing to spend that much on him remains to be seen. Then again, they did spend £35 million on Andy Carroll…
4. Nathan Redmond (Birmingham City)
Nathan Redmond has had quite the breakthrough season at Birmingham City. At the tender age of 19, Redmond is one of several youngsters who is making an impression under Lee Clark.
Redmond has pace and skill in abundance and his wing trickery has proven the downfall of several of the Championship’s most experienced full backs this season. With Birmingham extremely strapped for cash Redmond could provide a more cost-effective alternative to Tom Ince.
5. Martin Olsson
When Blackburn were relegated last season Martin Olsson was one of the few players tipped for an immediate return to the Premier League. The Swedish left-back/left-midfielder has shown real class during his time at Ewood Park and can consider himself unfortunate that he hasn’t experienced more success during his time in England.
He nearly secured a move to West Ham in January, only for the Hammers to pull out during the late stages of negotiation. With Blackburn having struggled in the Championship this season, surely this summer will see a Premiership club come in for a talented 24 year old with 15 Sweden caps and four international goals.
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