Some Championship sides will look different when the summer transfer window closes with a few (six, to be exact) valuable assets still likely to move on.
Leeds United and Southampton benefitted from the presence of Wilfried Gnonto and James Ward-Prowse in their respective opening games, but both players are expected to leave within the next couple of weeks.
The former and possibly future Premier League pair are not alone as this six-man list includes Tottenham, West Ham, Everton, Luton Town and Burnley targets who are set to pursue grander things after being fielded by their current clubs in the Championship over the weekend…
Jack Clarke (Sunderland)
The 22-year-old has crammed a lot into his short career to date. After not being given a fair chance at Tottenham, he has enjoyed a resurgence at Sunderland and was one of the best wingers in the Championship last season.
Clarke was a constant threat in the second tier last term as Sunderland mounted a surprise play-off push and he has done enough to earn himself another crack at life in the Premier League.
Brentford and Crystal Palace were linked with Clarke earlier this summer but Burnley – who failed with a £9m bid last month – are seemingly the side most interested in the winger.
Out of the three promoted sides, Burnley are best-placed to stay in the Premier League and Clarke would be a useful addition as Vincent Kompany attempts to re-establish them in the top flight. As for Sunderland, his potential exit would seriously dent their promotion hopes.
Wilfried Gnonto (Leeds United)
The West Yorkshire outfit have been a shambles behind the scenes over the past year and their board’s failings led to them making some awful signings. They did stumble upon a couple of gems though, with Gnonto and Tyler Adams being their best additions.
They were arguably Leeds United’s two best performers last term and they are set to seal returns to the Premier League. While Adams appears on the brink of joining Chelsea, Gnonto looks to be heading to Everton.
The inexperienced Gnonto was often Leeds United’s most dangerous attacking force last season so it was puzzling that he was not relied upon more during the run-in.
Leeds United’s defensive frailties would have likely resulted in them going down regardless, but the 19-year-old looks to have a huge future ahead of him and a move to Everton is a decent next step that should precede a transfer to a European giant.
Gustavo Hamer (Coventry City)
After last season’s play-off final defeat, it felt almost guaranteed that Hamer and Viktor Gyokeres would move on from Coventry. The latter has already secured himself a big move to Sporting Lisbon, but his former teammate has stuck around (for now).
Hamer has been heavily linked with Leeds United this summer and it is being reported by Football Insider that a bid of £12m will be enough to get him. And if Leeds United are going to spend this much on any Championship player, the Coventry standout would not be a bad pick.
The 26-year-old has developed year-on-year with the Sky Blues and his added influence in front of goal makes the brilliant team player a potential valuable asset to several suitors.
Leeds United are blessed with heaps of young talents primed to break out in the Championship, but Hamer would provide them with an added cutting-edge and much-needed goal threat from the middle of the pitch.
Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough)
The versatile defender has forged a solid career for himself after his Man Utd days as he’s blossomed into a top-end performer at Championship level for Middlesbrough.
No-one benefitted more from Michael Carrick’s arrival at Middlesbrough than Chuba Akpom, but McNair was bloody good in his own right as they went on an extraordinary run of form that saw them rocket up the table.
After falling short in the play-offs last term, promotion is expected at the Riverside this season but they could be about to lose two of their better players. Akpom is being pursued by Sheffield United, while eight clubs – including Bournemouth, Fulham and Luton Town – have ‘interest’ in McNair.
Both players are out of contract in 2024 so sadly for Middlesbrough, their hands may be tied if interest in the talented duo turns into serious bids.
Joel Piroe (Swansea City)
After successive play-off finishes in 2020 and 2021, Swansea City have slumped out of promotion contention in recent campaigns despite Piroe’s sensational form.
The Dutchman has been one of the Championship’s top performers over the past two seasons as he’s recorded a stunning tally of 41 goals in 88 league games.
Swansea have earned around £5m from selling Michael Obafemi and Morgan Whittaker this summer and it’s felt only a matter of time before Piroe follows them in leaving amid interest from title frontrunners Leicester City.
The Foxes are pretty well set for life in the Championship and they are hardly short of options in forward areas, but if you are Leicester and had the chance to sign Piroe, you wouldn’t say no. But if this move does not come off, Michael Duff is blessed with having him and another proven goalscorer in the summer signing, Jerry Yates, to call upon.
James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Saints showed on the opening day against Sheffield Wednesday that they will look to pass teams off the park this season, which is hardly a surprise with Russell Martin now in charge.
Their season is likely to be dependent on how many of their key players have stuck around by the end of the summer, and it would certainly be a massive boost if Ward-Prowse’s exit falls through.
Having previously been targeted by West Ham for the tough role of being Declan Rice’s replacement, a return to the Premier League is on the cards for the England international, but he could actually end up at Tottenham if recent reports are to be believed.
Ward-Prowse grabbed an assist in the Championship curtain-raiser at Hillsborough to show interested parties what they are missing out on and if common sense prevails, his £40m asking price will be met by West Ham or Spurs before the transfer window closes.