League 2 has been done, as has League 1, so now to the most exciting league in the world, the Championship! Whether it be the recently relegated sides vying for a swift Premier League or the likes of Derby who are suffering right now. Here are some of the new signings to keep an eye on this season…
Devante Cole to Barnsley
Starting with Barnsley who made a surprise run into the playoffs last season. They may not have gained promotion but under Valerien Ismael, they were oh so affective. Ismael has been snatched up by West Brom with Alex Mowatt following him so it’ll be a new time for the Tykes, USMNT striker Daryl Dike not retuning after his super successful loan either. Devante Cole has been brought in to fill that Dike-sized void, a man who has scored goals up and down the football league. Cole has played for Barnsley before as well as Motherwell in Scotland most recently, it’ll be fascinating to see if he can perform in the Championship.
Chuks Aneke and Tahith Chong to Birmingham
Tahith Chong is highly rated around Old Trafford and the Dutchman has now been loaned to Birmingham City in the Championship. The Blues are never normally all that goal dangerous but when you add Chong as well as Chuks Aneke alongside Lukas Jutkiewicz, who knows what could happen. The latter has often been the one positive for Birmingham but Aneke has scored goals at a good rate for the likes of Charlton and Crewe. He started just eleven of his 38 appearances last season yet still scored fifteen, I have no doubt he can thrive in the Championship but his disciplinary record does raise a few eyebrows.
Reece James to Blackpool
Blackpool’s return to the Championship has seen a mix of arrivals, the experience of Richard Keogh complimenting young star Tyreece John-Jules well. John-Jules is an Arsenal youngster who played well for Doncaster and he’s not the only Blackpool player signing who spent last season at the Keepmoat. Reece James is a smart fullback who may not be quite as exciting as his namesake but is functional all the same.
Emi Marcondes to Bournemouth
For Bournemouth it was more of a case of keeping key players as they showed last season they were good enough to return to the top-flight. The players of note that did move to pastures new were Begovic, Diego Rico and Jack Wilshere so they achieved just this, Arnaut Danjuma and David Brooks amongst those instrumental players who remain on the south coast. New arrival Emi Marcondes is an interesting one really given that he went in and out of the Brentford side that won the playoffs. He has certainly shown that he is perfectly capable of being one of the better names in the Championship and so this free transfer makes a whole lot of sense for club and player.
Andy King to Bristol City
Adding a Premier League winner to a struggling Championship side is a great move and it truly was a turgid time to be a Bristol City fan last season. Nigel Pearson, who managed Andy King at Leicester, was brought in for the Robins to bring stability but the results didn’t get any better. King has reached an age where he can’t hack it in the English top-flight but he seems just such a savvy signing. King won’t light up the Championship but he can add his know-how alongside the young Massengo.
Harry Wilson and Paulo Gazzaniga to Fulham
Fulham again succumbed to a swift return to the Championship and as a result, Scott Parker has moved onto the project at Bournemouth. Both sides are similar in a lot of ways but the latter have shown more stability when they have reached the promise land so it makes sense from Parker. Fulham’s side on paper is ridiculous though and that has only increased in this window under Marco Silva who had ebbs and flows as manager of Hull, Watford and Everton. Paulo Gazzaniga has deputised very well for Hugo Lloris in the past at Tottenham so he will surely be a good replacement for Alphonse Areola whilst Harry Wilson performed well more often than not with Cardiff last season. The Welshman in a more attacking and free-flowing side makes for salivating stuff in all honesty.
Carlos Mendes Gomes to Luton
Luton maybe go under the radar in the Championship since Nathan Jones’ return to the club, their budget is very small in comparison yet they were very comfortable last season. This wouldn’t surprise me if it continued and their summer window can only add to that, Fred Onyedinma and Admiral Muskwe both having played well in a struggling Wycombe side. The pair can both bring goals to this Luton side, along with Elijah Adebayo and fellow new arrival Carlos Mendes Gomes too. Mendes Gomes arrives from a Morecambe side that got promoted out of League 2 under Derek Adams and even though they achieved their goal, the Spaniard did so well that he has earned another step up.
Uche Ikpeazu to Middlesbrough
Following on from Onyedinma and Muskwe, another forward has remained in the Championship despite Wycombe’s relegation. Uche Ikpeazu contributed to ten goals in 2,000 or so minutes which isn’t an awful return given their status in the division- it will be interesting to see how he operates under Neil Warnock. Warnock is quite the traditionalist and he is building a team at the Riverside that fits that mould. Lee Peltier from West Brom and Matt Crooks from Rotherham following this trend but with Ikpeazu and Chuba Akpom there could be some output going the other way.
Ethan Horvath to Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest may have seen how well Daryl Dike fared at Barnsley earlier this year as they are the next Championship side to take a sample from the USMNT pool. Players moving from MLS to Europe is becoming all the more frequent and goalkeeper Ethan Horvath is City Ground bound. He wrote his name up in lights as he came on for Man City’s Zac Steffen in the Nations League final against Mexico, going on to save a penalty in the 119th minute that won the title for his country. There is no doubt in my mind that Horvath is, on paper anyway, one of the best keepers in this league but another is Brice Samba who currently possesses the starting gloves.
Jack Marriott to Peterborough
Derby is a poison chalice at the moment and so it’s not surprising to see a lot of players getting as far away from Pride Park as possible. One of the names in question is Jack Marriott and he has returned to familiar territory, joining Peterborough. They were excellent last season with the relationship between Siriki Dembele and Jonson Clarke-Harris providing huge entertainment going forward and Marriott can only make that better. They produced Toney who has of course gone on to big things and Clarke-Harris might be the next in line for that.
Izzy Brown to Preston
Talking of Peterborough and Izzy Brown was born there, the Chelsea youth product now finally cutting ties with the Londoners on a permanent basis. He has been on several loan moves away from Stamford Bridge with a mixed level of success. There is so much potential there and it has been talked about A LOT, but injuries have tended to hamper him along the way. Brown joins Preston with the hopes being that he could stave away the injuries, Matthew Olosunde arriving from Rotherham also being a notable signing. The American full-back hasn’t been able to fly forward as he likes to do as much and I’m not sure if a move to Deepdale changes that in any way, but we shall see.
Alex Mowatt to West Brom
Finally then to one of the three relegated sides West Brom. As previously mentioned, Barnsley manager Valerien Ismael has been brought in to replace Sam Allardyce with star man Alex Mowatt following him. Mowatt was the heartbeat of that side really, everything went through him and he helped take them to that new level. A very different style of football will be expected from both player and manager at the Hawthorns but I have no doubts that Mowatt will hit the ground running. The loss of both loanees Conor Gallagher and Okay Yokuslu is huge as they were two of the best players in a poor season so Mowatt has big, big boots to fill.