Championship Transfer Targets

The Premier League season has come to a close, with the most unlikely of winners Leicester City lifting the trophy for the first time in their 132 year history. This has given other teams the inspiration to push themselves up the division, and we will look at some of the players currently in the championship, who clubs may look at to help them follow in Leicester’s footsteps during the summer transfer window.

Maarten Stekelenburg – Fulham

The Dutch keeper was brought in by Southampton as cover for Fraser Forster last season, but now returns to his struggling parent club Fulham. However, his impressive form may well earn him a permanent deal with the Saints, as cover for their now fit number one Fraser Forster.

Fulham want to offload the former Dutch international due to his high wages, which could cause issues for the club under the financial fair play rules. Fulham are currently in talks with Southampton to try and make Stekelenburg’s loan deal a permanent one.

Stekelenburg was Holland’s number one keeper in their 2014 World Cup campaign where they were crowned third place finishers. He has played at the very top of the game so could therefore give Southampton or any other premier league club an experienced and reliable back up option in goal.

Dominic Iorfa – Wolves 

Brought in from Southend at the age 15, the right-back has had an excellent few seasons for Wolves since he came through the academy. Iorfa made his debut for Wolves at the age of 19 on December 6th against Bournemouth playing the full 90 minutes of the game.

Since then Iorfa has gone from strength to strength helping his side to 16 clean sheets this season and finishing with one assist, coming in the match against Bolton on February 2nd which ended in a 2-2 draw. This has led to many admirers from the Premier League with Crystal Palace and West Ham rumoured to be preparing bids for the England Under 21 international. However Wolves manager Kenny Jackett has issued a “hands off” warning to clubs wanting him.

Despite this, Iorfa could provide excellent long term cover for the clubs interested in securing his services, due to his lightning pace, strength and impressive dribbling abilities.

Oliver Norwood – Reading 

Signed from Huddersfield in the summer of 2014 for around £1 million, the former Manchester United academy player has had a very impressive season for the Royals scoring three goals and making twelve assists in all competitions, a solid figure for the central midfielder. Norwood has been one of the few bright sparks in what was a disappointing season for Reading.

As a result this has led to a number of Premier League clubs targeting him this summer, with the likes of Bournemouth and newly promoted Burnley both rumoured to be admirers of the Northern Ireland international, who will also be representing his country at the Euros in France this summer. It has also been recently reported in the Reading Chronicle that Norwood’s agent has travelled to Hull for talks over a potential £1.5 million move to the Tigers.

Norwood possesses good passing abilities, both short and direct. He is also very good at keeping the ball, a skill that is very much needed to play in the top flight.  He has a habit for scoring memorable goals, most notably against Ipswich on September 11th, in front of the Sky cameras against Nottingham Forest.

Norwood has recently said that he is “flattered by Premier league interest”, meaning Reading may find it difficult to keep hold of him, should an offer come in.

Moussa Dembele – Fulham 

Signed by Fulham at the age of 16 in 2012, the French under 20 international has developed through their youth academy and this season has cemented himself as a first team regular with a very impressive campaign, netting 17 goals in all competitions, in what has been a very disappointing season for Fulham.

The striker is known for his excellent finishing and lightning pace, making it extremely difficult for any opposition defence to keep him off the scoresheet. This has caught the eye of many Premier League clubs, with teams like Manchester United and Liverpool to name a few lining up summer bids for him. Dembele has rejected a new contract offer from Fulham which would have quadrupled his current salary. His career with the club therefore looks to be coming to an end.

He has missed only three games for Fulham this season playing a combined 3,360 minutes, and is the clubs second highest scorer behind Scottish international Ross McCormack. At the age of just 19, he will improve further, making him a long term project for any club in the Premier League.

Zach Clough – Bolton 

Bolton Wanderers have had very little to smile about this season. Financial ruin left the club teetering on the edge of extinction, leading to relegation to league one. This has left many gaps in funding to be found. One of these may be 21 year old wonder-kid Zach Clough as the club may choose to cash in on the youngster to stabilise their finances.

He made 29 appearances for Bolton this season scoring 7 goals, making him their top scorer for the season. He possesses good finishing abilities and is able to roam around the attacking third, picking gaps in the opposition defence, allowing him to set up goal scoring chances.

Interest from Championship clubs is high with Leeds United and Bristol City interested, however rumours suggest that Everton are monitoring the striker, so a Premier League move could be on the cards. It is likely Clough will command a lower transfer fee, making him a low risk signing for most mid table Premier League sides.

 

By Jack Simpson with support from Jamie Woodhouse

 

 

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