5 Championship players ready to grace the Premier League
There is often doubt surrounding the quality available in the Championship. However, many English second division players have worked hard to earn an opportunity in the Premier League. Such talents have the quality to make the step up. It's time for top-flight clubs to take note.
Leicester City has the right idea. The Foxes signed James Maddison five days ago from Championship side Norwich City. The English midfielder's fantastic season with the Canaries earned him a £22 million move to the Premier League.
There are numerous second-tier players good enough to follow Maddison's path this summer. Here are the five most deserving.
Due to a serious injury suffered by Bristol City's record signing, Famara Diedhiou, manager Lee Johnson converted Bobby Reid to a more attacking role. The 25-year-old reacted positively, using his intelligence and close control to give the Robins a fresh impetus.
Reid combines superb off-ball movement with excellent technique. His attributes enabled him to net 21 times and provide 9 assists across all competitions this season. He recorded 28% of City's goal tally. Only Ipswich Town's Martyn Waghorn was involved in more Championship goals.
Reid has been linked to both Everton and Leicester. Brighton & Hove Albion would be a better fit, though. The Seagulls performed incredibly as a Premier League newbie. They would improve even further with a younger striker. Glen Murray is 34. Manager Chris Hughton must find a suitable replacement.
The Manchester United loanee was excellent at Aston Villa this campaign, keeping an impressive 20 clean sheets in 45 appearances. Johnstone's dynamic shot-stopping ability, above average reflexes and decent distribution make him an all-round goalkeeper.
With David de Gea, Sergio Romero and Joel Pereira in United's first team, there is no clear path to receiving game time. Dean Henderson, another Red Devils keeper, was loaned to Sheffield United six days ago. Although a temporary move would offer Johnstone minutes, he deserves better.
The 25-year-old's high-caliber performance means he could easily walk into any mid-table Premier League side. Villa will undoubtedly try to force a move, but he should wait on a club such as Newcastle United. Neither Rob Elliot nor Martin Dubravka is indispensable in Rafael Benitez's mind. Signing Johnstone would provide an upgrade.
Despite being sidelined for a few months this season, Grealish's gorgeous footwork earned him recognition. The creative midfielder was a major contributor to Aston Villa's seven-game winning streak post-Christmas. After beginning the campaign slowly, he finished with three goals and six assists in 22 starts.
Maintaining 86% passing accuracy, the 22-year-old has helped Villa immensely, producing magic in different areas. On average, he created two chances per game. His form also earned him a place in the EFL Championship Team of the Year.
Is there a better club for Grealish than Tottenham Hotspur? Imagine the exposure he would receive, combining with Christian Eriksen while working under Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine coach has a great reputation for developing young English players. He unleashed Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier.
During 44 starts for Millwall this season, Saville chipped in with ten goals and an assist. The Camberley-born midfielder enjoys going for glory, often taking long shots. He is adept defensively as well, averaging 4.5 tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes.
One interesting fact about the 25-year-old is whenever he scored, the Lions didn't lose a match. Stats show he has been one of the Championship's best central midfielders over the past 11 months.
Saville was no doubt Millwall's standout performer this campaign. Now at his peak, he may decide to move up a level. Bournemouth is a tailor-made fit. The Cherries have Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling and Harry Arter as midfield options. Saville would lessen the responsibility on each one. His presence could also allow Eddie Howe to experiment with three men in the middle of the pitch.
Adomah's start to this season was something very special. In his first game against Wigan Athletic, the winger scored to ensure all three points for Aston Villa. The following month, he put two past Barnsley before scoring the winner to overcome Fulham. November proved even better for the Ghana international. He grabbed three consecutive man of the match awards, netting twice against Queens Park Rangers, hitting the opener at home to Sunderland followed by a brace to defeat Ipswich Town.
In all, the 30-year-old scored 15 times and provided five assists. His contribution earned Villa 19 points. Not content with scoring nine match-winning goals, he averaged three tackles and interceptions per game. His work rate is second to none.
With Villa missing out on Premier League promotion, Adomah will perhaps look to leave this summer. Everton would be perfect. Marco Silva could set up in a 4-3-3 formation, with him on the left and Theo Walcott playing right. Yannick Bolasie's injury troubles mean he has failed to prove worthy. The Toffees lack genuine width. Gylfi Sigurdsson has been deployed out wide, but he is more suited to a central role. Adomah offers a potential solution.