The quality of the Championship appears to be getting better and better every season as we welcome Leeds, West Brom and Fulham back to the Premier League next season.
While we’ll be seeing the likes of Kalvin Philipps, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Tom Cairney plying their trade in the top division of the English football pyramid from September, there’s still a rich talent pool down in the Championship that are catching the eye.
With the transfer window now open and the teams now set in their respective divisions, we’ve taken a look at some of the best players in the Championship that could be set to complete big moves this summer.
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Player: Ebere Eze, attacking midfield
Interested Clubs: Crystal Palace, West Ham, Aston Villa, Tottenham
Market Value: £8.1m
The 22-year-old attacking midfielder enjoyed the best season of his young career last term for QPR, scoring 14 goals and providing eight assists in 46 Championship appearances as the Hoops secured a mid-table finish in the second-tier.
Eze has established himself as one of the countries top young players and is tipped to complete a move to the Premier League this summer. It’s believed that both West Ham and Crystal Palace have already seen offers turned down for Eze, who can play in an attacking midfield role or off the left, as QPR are reportedly holding out for close to £20m for their star man.
Player: Ollie Watkins, striker
Interested Clubs: Leeds, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Aston Villa
Market Value: £10.8m
The 24-year-old joined Brentford three years ago from Exeter for just £1.8m and has emerged as one of the best finishers in the Football League. Watkins finished the season as the joint-top scorer in the Championship along with Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic with 26 goals, but it was the Serbian who was successful when they faced off in the play-off final.
It’s believed that Watkins has a release clause of just £18m which has alerted a number of Premier League clubs, especially Leeds and Aston Villa who both are looking for attacking reinforcements in their likely battle against relegation next season.
Player: Matty Cash, right-back
Club: Nottingham Forest
Interested Clubs: West Ham, Burnley, Southampton
Market Value: £4.32m
Cash came through the ranks at Nottingham Forest as a central midfielder but has found himself nailing down a regular role in the side at right-back in the last two seasons. The 23-year-old caught the eye as Forest narrowly missed out on a play-off spot on the final day of the season, scoring three goals and providing five assists in 42 league appearances.
The likes of West Ham, Burnley and Southampton have all shortlisted Cash as a potential addition to their squad ahead of the new season, with the versatile full-back likely to cost in excess of £10m.
Player: Said Benrahma, winger
Interested Clubs: West Ham, Leeds, Leicester, Chelsea, Arsenal
Market Value: £9.45m
Brentford’s famed ‘BMW’ in attack may have been spearheaded by Ollie Watkins, but it was Said Benrahma pulling the strings and creating danger from the left that was the driving force behind their attack last season.
The three-time Algerian international winger scored 17 goals last season as well as laying on a further nine assists in 43 Championship games. Having missed out on promotion, Benrahma is now being discussed as a potential transfer target for a number of Premier League clubs who may not be deterred by the reported £30m price-tag.
Player: Dael Fry, centre-back
Interested Clubs: Everton, Newcastle, Southampton, Burnley
Market Value: £4.95m
Fry has been a regular in the Middlesborough first-team squad for the last two or three seasons now and despite still being only 22, he has racked up over 100 senior appearances for the Teeside club having come through the academy at the Riverside.
The England U21 international was the subject of a rejected £10m bid from Burnley in January who have been trying to secure his signature for over a year now, while the likes of Everton, Southampton and Newcastle have been linked with summer moves for the £20m-rated defender.
Player: Rico Henry, left-back
Interested Clubs: West Ham, West Brom, Leeds
Market Value: £1.8m
Brentford’s failure to secure promotion to the Premier League again last season will likely result in them losing at least two or three key members of their regular starting XI, and fullback Rico Henry is among those that are being looked at by top flight clubs.
The 23-year-old has spent four years at Brentford and appeared in every Championship game for the Bees last season as they put together the second-best defensive record in the division behind champions Leeds, who are said to be interested in signing the uncapped Englishman, along with West Ham and fellow promoted side West Brom.
Player: Joe Worrall, centre-back
Club: Nottingham Forest
Interested Clubs: West Ham
Market Value: £4.95m
Defender Joe Worrall came through the ranks at Nottingham Forest and following an impressive loan spell with Rangers in 2018/19, was afforded a regular role in the first-team this past season, starting every Championship game last season.
The 23-year-old has over 150 senior appearances under his belt and has been touted to make the step up in the near future, with West Ham among the clubs looking at the former England U21 international as a potential recruit.
Player: Antonee Robinson, left-back
Interested Clubs: West Ham, West Brom
Market Value: £3.15m
Antonee Robinson made his loan spell from Everton a permanent one last summer and immediately cemented himself as one of the best fullbacks playing in England’s second tier. The USA international made 38 appearances last season, scoring once.
Wigan’s unfortunate relegation from the Championship has made Robinson available for transfer this summer for potentially as little as £1.5m with both West Ham and West Brom keen to add depth to their defensive ranks.
Player: Danny Loader, striker
Club: Free Agent
Interested Clubs: Leeds, Porto
Market Value: £405k
England U20 international striker Danny Loader broke into the first-team at Reading back in 2018, scoring his first senior goal in the penultimate game of the 2018/19 Championship season, but has been unable to build on that since.
With 35 career appearances to his name for Reading, Loader decided not to renew his contract with the club and became a free agent when the season finished and is now seeking pastures new. Leeds United have been linked with a move for the 19-year-old attacker while Portuguese champions Porto are also said to be interested.
Player: Ryan Manning, left-back
Interested Clubs: West Ham
Market Value: £2.16m
Manning began the 2018/19 season as a regular in the QPR midfield but over the last 18 months has seen himself transition to left-back where he’s nailed down a regular place in the side, scoring four goals and providing seven assists in 41 Championship appearances last season.
The 24-year-old is yet to be capped by Ireland despite being a regular at U21 level in years past and has emerged as a transfer target for David Moyes at West Ham.
Player: John Swift, midfielder
Interested Clubs: Aston Villa, Sheffield United
Market Value: £3.6m
Swift came through the ranks at Chelsea but left to join Reading on a free transfer back in 2016 following a slew of loans and has carved out a career for himself in the Championship.
Now 25, Swift pulled the strings for Reading last season from deep, providing 10 assists while also netting pon six occasions as well in 41 Championship appearances, attracting the attention of both Southampton and Sheffield United who have both enjoyed success in recruiting talent from the second-tier.
*All market values sourced from transfermarkt.co.uk.
Would you like to see your club sign any of these Championship talents this summer, or were there some players you feel we missed off the list? Let us know in the comments below!