The Championship: Five summer signings set to steal the headlines
It’s one of the closest, craziest and most competitive leagues in the world, and amazingly this season’s Championship could be the tightest yet, and clubs have been busy in the transfer window ensuring they’re prepared as best as possible.
With Newcastle, Aston Villa and Norwich dropping down from the Premier League, the division boasts a wealth of strong squads, and here’s a fact – it’s the first time ever that a second tier boasts two European Cup winners in Villa and Nottingham Forest.
What’s more, the strength of the division is showcased even more with two Champions League winning managers – Rafael Benitez and Roberto Di Matteo – set to endure the gruelling 46-game campaign.
This season more than ever, a player’s individual brilliance could win or lose a game, can make or break a promotion chase, or save a club from relegation.
So here are five signings we reckon could be set to star in a season of more compelling Championship football…
Helder Costa – Wolves
With the takeover from Chinese consortium Fosum now complete, Wolves have been getting very active in the transfer market.
One of two recent Portuguese acquisitions is Helder Costa, a winger on loan from Benfica.
The 22-year-old has been capped at every level bar senior for his country, and spent last season at Monaco, helping them finish third in Ligue 1. Costa could well prove to be the Championship’s most attacking talent this term.
Matt Ritchie – Newcastle
If you are desperately seeking promotion into the Premier League, and you’ve got the money to do so, then you should probably sign a player who knows all about winning the Championship.
Newcastle spent £12m persuading Matt Ritchie to leave Bournemouth and drop down a division, but if the midfielder can replicate the 15 goals and 18 assists he produced for the Cherries en route to their title win two years ago, the Toon will have made a very savvy investment.
Marcus Antonsson – Leeds
Things have been a bit quiet at Leeds this summer, but that’s probably a good thing as Garry Monk sets about lifting the club back to the top.
One player to keep an eye out for is Marcus Antsonsson, signed from Swedish side Kalmar.
The 6ft 1in forward impressed with 10 goals in 12 games in the Swedish 2016 season, persuading Leeds to fork out around £2m for his services. Alongside Chris Wood, Antonsson will give defenders plenty of hassle this year.
John Swift – Reading
With Jaap Stam in charge, Reading are looking to improve on last season’s disappointing 17th place finish, and one of their summer signings has the potential to help do just that.
On loan from Chelsea, John Swift impressed on loan at Brentford last season, and the box-to-box midfielder scored seven times in addition to four assists.
Still only 21, Reading have signed the England U21 international on a three-year deal, and with that experience from last term to count upon, Swift can shine for the Royals this term.
Nick Powell – Wigan
Tipped to be the next big thing at Manchester United, things didn’t work out for Nick Powell, but having joined Wigan on a permanent deal this summer, the midfielder can kick-start his career.
After bouncing back into second tier by winning League One last season, Wigan are being touted as potential dark horses under Gary Caldwell.
If Powell can remind everyone why United were so keen to sign him, the Latics could be at the sharp end this term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.