Who missed out on the Prem, and should make the jump

          Too good for the Championship: Part One

          2020/07/28 16:35
          By Connor Andrews

          With the dust all but settled on the most bizarre season in football’s recent history, the second tier is just days from being decided, with 21 of next season’s 24 Championship teams now in place.

          Last week filled in plenty of gaps when it came to promotion, relegation and the play-offs, and with some big names staying put, and others dropping down from above, Playmaker’s here to identify who shouldn’t have missed out on the Premier League, and why they should be there soon.

          Ebere Eze

          ©Getty / AR

          If you enjoy watching football, you’ll enjoy watching Ebere Eze.

          QPR’s player of the season has glistened throughout highlight reels, but also backed it up with the numbers. A silky number 10 or second striker, Eze has been slaloming and flicking his way through the heaviest of Championship midfields and defences on course to racking up a team leading 14 goals and eight assists.

          Dropped by the likes of Arsenal and Millwall in his youth career, the England U21 is now garnering links to every club in the country after finding somewhere to play his own game, but needs to be careful he doesn’t lose that freedom at his next club.

          Linked heavily with West Ham and Crystal Palace, Eze will certainly be encouraged to refine his trade for another year in the Championship, and needs to be careful he doesn’t get swamped at a lost top tier club looking for a new messiah. Leeds, also linked, could well be the smart choice.


          Ismaïla Sarr

          ©Getty / JUSTIN TALLIS

          After making headlines with his two goal display against Liverpool that stopped the Champions’ chances of an unbeaten season, it’s rather surprising that Sarr hadn’t turned heads sooner, becoming Watford’s record signing after following in the footsteps of Ousmane Dembele at Rennes.

          Watford fans were already well aware of his ability before that game, and with their relegation confirmed at the weekend, it seems highly unlikely that they won’t need to recoup as much of the £30 million they paid for the Senegal international as the transfer window opens.

          A winger who charges through fullbacks with ease, Sarr has showcased himself in the Premier League this season and has all the makings of someone who could quickly become European competition quality under consistent and quality coaching.

          His name has been mentioned alongside Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham so far, and while they very much seem like names picked out of a hat, Sarr could prove a steal should any top six side make a move.


          Joe Lolley

          ©Getty / MI News

          Despite an astonishing final day collapse, people searched far and wide for reasons why Nottingham Forest had a surprisingly solid and successful season, and the main name that continued to pop up was Joe Lolley.

          And when it comes to being Premier League ready, the 26-year-old appears to have done his time in the Championship, as he makes carrying the ball forward look easy, more often than not one step ahead of his man, before producing expertly finished goals and assists, 17 of them in total.

          Aston Villa seems to be the main name mentioned, and as the kind of player who looks like he could help most sides move from relegation battlers to mid table, Lolley will surely have a pick of teams after him if the market ever shifts into gear.


          Louie Sibley

          ©Getty / Jonathan Brady

          While Sibley falls under the ‘potential’ category when it comes to this list, and another season in the Championship is entirely expected, if he starts the next campaign as rapidly he finished this, Derby might even have problems holding on come the January transfer window.

          Derby have been quietly building one of the best youth set ups in the country, even taking part in this season’s UEFA Youth League, and so far, Sibley looks like he could be the pick of the bunch, with some astonishing technique shown in his five goals in just 11 matches.

          And while his fans could be getting carried away with less than a dozen appearances, the attacking midfielder has already shown the kind of special talent that marks you out in the Championship, and that if shown consistently, could end up being far too good for the second tier.




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