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5 Championship Stars Ready For Top Flight Move

 • by Martin Laurence
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With just four games still to play in the Championship, promotion to the Premier League seems all but assured for Brighton and Newcastle United, despite the latter dropping two costly points on Friday.

And it’s the teams that clinch promotion who are often among those best placed to attract the top young talent from the second tier. They tend to have a greater understanding of which players may be available from the league they’ve just escaped.

That’s certainly the case for Newcastle, who have already been linked with a number of summer raids on some of their Championship counterparts.

The Magpies won’t be alone, however, in targeting players from the Championship as they are a number of youngster’s in the division who’ve drawn admiring glances from clubs in the top-flight.
The following are five players, aged 23 or under, who have impressed this season and could be targeted be sides who clinch promotion.

Ryan Sessegnon

There’s little question as to the hottest property in the Championship, with the majority of England’s biggest sides having shown an interest in Sessegnon.
At just 16 he has already made 22 league appearances for Fulham, primarily from left-back, although it’s his threat going forwards that has really shone through this season.
The teenager has four league goals and another two in the FA Cup, with a match-winning brace at St. James’ Park last month undoubtedly his finest display of the campaign.

He also has two assists to his name and his composure and ability to find a team-mate, be it in the final third or from the back belies his tender years.

His technical ability and pace have unsurprisingly drawn admiring glances from the top teams in the country and Sessegnon’s next move, when it does come, will almost undoubtedly be to a team in the upper reaches of the Premier League.

Helder Costa

He may have only signed for Wolves permanently in January, and for a notable fee at that, but that won’t prevent teams from the top-flight from monitoring Costa’s progress closely.

The Portuguese turned 23 at the start of the year and is unquestionably one of the Championship’s most exciting wingers, as well as the real difference maker for Paul Lambert’s side.

With 10 goals and eight assists he leads the way for Wolves in both categories, and his threat on the counter, combining pace and trickery on the ball, has been an invaluable asset since his arrival from Benfica.

When you consider that Costa leads the team for shots per game (1.8), key passes (1.7) and dribbles (1.4), it’s no surprise the club were desperate to avoid missing out on permanently signing a player who had been attracting interest from elsewhere.

It would also be no shock to see that interest resurface before too long, although Wolves would no doubt demand a handsome profit on the £13m they spent to secure his services.

Most Premier League sides will have that financial muscle in the summer and a move to a team with top half aspirations could yet be on the cards.

Jacob Murphy

After six loan deals in the space of two years, Norwich felt that Jacob Murphy was ready to make the step up to the senior squad this year. The 22-year old certainly hasn’t disappointed.

The winger has filled the boots of Nathan Redmond with aplomb, scoring nine goals and registering six assists in 37 league appearances thus far.

The youngster has an eye for the spectacular and a powerful shot with which to back it up, scoring three times from distance this season. He also ranks among the top ten players in the league for successful dribbles.

Norwich City winger Jacob Murphy

Having only turned 22 in February, he has bags of potential there and there’s little question he has emerged as the stronger Murphy twin – brother Josh has played a far more peripheral role this season despite having earned more caps at youth level with England.

It would be no surprise whatsoever if Jacob followed in Redmond’s footsteps to earn a Premier League move either this year or next. Like Costa at Wolves, he too leads his side in shots and dribbles this season, so Norwich would also command a considerable fee for their prized asset.

Charlie Taylor

Leeds adopted a risky strategy in January, rejecting offers for left-back Charlie Taylor, who is out of contract this summer, from a number of Premier League clubs.

They are hoping to persuade the 23-year old to stay if they can return to the top-flight via the play-offs. Fail to do so and the defender will almost certainly leave, sparking a battle for his services.

The likes of Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and West Brom are all thought to have had offers in the region of £7m rebuffed at the start of the year, given the situation with his contract that proves just how highly Leeds regard their enterprising young full-back.

Despite missing a large chunk of the campaign through injury, Taylor has still played a significant role in their success under Monk after all.

With three assists in 25 starts and 1.2 successful dribbles per game he is among the most effective attacking outlets from full-back in the second tier and there is no real weakness in his game to exploit.

Taylor has been linked to a move to Liverpool in recent months and given Jurgen Klopp’s evident lack of faith in Alberto Moreno, the Reds’ interest in bolstering their options at left-back would come as no surprise.

Philip Billing

Another player believed to be in high demand this summer, Philip Billing looks to be the complete midfielder and if Huddersfield Town miss out on promotion, the Danish youngster could well have the option to leave them behind.
His height makes him a dominant force in the air while his ability to break up and recycle play will be a trait that will interest a number of Premier League clubs.
The 20-year old is averaging 3.1 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per 90 minutes this season, stationed at the base of the Huddersfield midfield to alleviate pressure on the back four.
Huddersfield Town midfielder Philip Billing
The rangy midfielder does look to support the attack too though, and packs a punch from distance, scoring twice thus far this season.

Tottenham reportedly showed an interest last year while Palace are believed to have had a bid rejected in January.

Newcastle are also tipped to move for the youngster in a bid to bolster their ranks upon a potential Premier League return, Billing may have plenty of options this summer.

With a contract until 2020 though, he certainly won’t go cheap and having made a real impression against Manchester City in the FA Cup earlier this year, he’s been tipped for the top.

Let’s hope he can live up to his, ahem, billing.

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