There’s a wealth of playing talent in the Championship capable of making the step up to the promised land. A list of players as long as Arsene Wenger’s winter coat.
However, it’d take weeks to compile such a lengthy list, and so I’ve picked just 5 players that I think Premier League clubs should target in the January transfer window.
Instead of focusing on players that are excelling at the top end of the Championship, I’ve decided to focus on key men at unfancied mid/lower-table sides.
1) Scott Hogan – Brentford
Goals. Pace. Age on his age. Scott Hogan is Taylor-made for the Premier League.
Hogan signed for Brentford in a £750,000 deal from Rochdale in 2014 but suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in only his second game for the club. Nightmare. He only returned to action in March 2016, scoring seven goals in the last four matches of last season.
The Brentford striker has since bagged 14 goals in 25 games this season and sits joint-third in the Championship scoring charts.
Several PL clubs have been linked with Hogan, with Brentford reportedly looking for close to £15million for their prized asset.
2) Conor Hourihane – Barnsley
Conor Hourihane is arguably the most talked-about player in the Championship this season.
The midfielder leads the Championships in assists, registering at least four more than any other player, and has five goals to his name, including this worldie of a strike – a dipping, 30-yard volley – at the City ground to maintain Barnsley’s play-off push.
However, often overlooked is the Corkonian’s work off the ball. Hourihane is top of the league in terms of tackles and his tireless running in midfield has been pivotal to Barnsley’s impressive start to life back in the Championship. He’s also demonstrated exceptional anticipation to produce the fourth-highest number of interceptions this season.
Creative and combative, it’s hardly a surprise to see the 25-year-old linked with Villa, Newcastle, Norwich, Celtic and LA Galaxy. I’d also expect a few Premier League clubs to be thrown into the mix before the January window slams shut.
3) Marc Roberts – Barnsley
Sorry Barnsley fans. I’m tipping another of your star men to make the step up to the Premier League in the January transfer window.
Marc Roberts has played a crucial role in the Tykes play-off push this season, with the Barnsley-born defender featuring in 21 league games.
Roberts has made rapid progress since joining Barnsley from then National League side Halifax Town in the summer of 2015 and has acclimatised to Championship football with relative ease.
He looks destined for bigger things, with West Brom and Burnley both reportedly keen on the £6million-rated centre-back.
4) Tom Cairney – Fulham
Tom Cairney joined Fulham from Blackburn in the summer of 2015 for £3.5 million and has since established himself as one of the best creative forces outside of the top division.
Easy on the eye, and with a wand of a left foot, Cairney is often deployed on the right of midfield for Jokanovic’s side, but is equally comfortable playing centrally or on the left. He’s composed on the ball, has an eye for a pass, and an ability to shoot from range.
Fulham boss Jokanovic speaks highly of Cairney and has stressed that the silky midfielder is not for sale at any price.
5) Adam Webster – Ipswich
The 22-year-old centre-back switched to Portman Road in a £700k Summer move from Portsmouth and, after taking the step up two divisions in his stride, is already being linked with a move to the top-flight.
Webster is a ball-playing centre-back, with the skill and vision to pick out a decent pass. A bit like the Championship’s John Stones. But without the moments of rashness.
Playing out from the back in a two or three-man central defence seems to be the current fad in Premier League football, and Webster would slot into such a system with relative ease.
Everton and Sunderland are both reported to be readying £4million bids.