This is my 2nd piece in my VALUE FOR MONEY SERIES, this week I am concentrating on the EFL and who could make the jump into the top flight:
The following players could defiantly do a job but it’s whether the recruitment departments of the Premier League would rather spend big on foreign talent or named brand players for the big bucks.
During his time at Brentford he proved himself to be one of the best defensive midfielders in the Championship. A great passer, he retained the ball well in the midfield and could put his foot in when needed. Since his move to Stoke his reputation has floundered and considering his modest fee last summer (£6.5m) any bid of around that mark from a club like Brighton (Potter was interested when at Swansea) or Aston Villa (reunion with old boss Dean Smith) would be successful. The upside of signing him is if he fails he would still have some value to move back on to a Championship club.
When Pontus joined Leeds initially on loan in 2016 from Torino he was undoubtedly the best defender in the Championship. Last season especially near the end his footing in the Leeds side faltered and his face after the playoff defeat to Derby suggested he feels his chance to play in the Premier League is slipping. He is 28 and has 3 years on his contract but a bid of £5m + would surely be accepted as I think the player would push for the move if he knows their is interest. The man is comfortable on the ball and a rock solid defender, man marking is probably his strong point. Surely he would be a valuable squad player for any team bar Man City or Liverpool?
This lad has made a total mess of his career and with Stoke trying to release him (ongoing legal action has caused the delay in this process) surely a move for him is totally risk free? If their is no fee, as a Premier League giving him a 2nd chance they could offer a short term deal on a pay as you play basis and even insist on him entering rehab before the deal is completed. He would not like those terms but with him struggling on and off the pitch he wouldn’t have much choice. When on form this lad has it all and if he worked with a boss like Rodgers or Howe they could give him the man management he needs.
Injuries have stopped him kicking on with his career, whenever he hits some form he endures a prolonged period out of the game. When fit his strength, pace and skill make him unplayable, last season he played central midfield for WBA at times which worked too. With a year to go on his contract even a cheeky bid of £3m could be successful if a few add on’s are included based on appearances or goals. Watford, Brighton, Newcastle or Crystal Palace are all clubs who could use an attacking squad player like him.
As I write this he is subject of interest from Watford and could move next week to them for £5m, it’s a great move if they get him. Totally the right value, he is 29 and has a year on his contract. Loyalty to WBA cost him ultimately a big move a few years ago. Tried and tested top flight defender who can chip with 5 or so goals a season it seems a no brainer to take him on. To me even clubs as high up in the food chain like Arsenal or Man Utd would be making a good move if they approached him, I would rather him in defence than players like Ashley Young, Chris Smalling or Shkodran Mustafi!
Back in 2015 he was voted Under 21 Premier League Player of the Year, the injuries he has endured since is nothing short of heartbreaking. The rapid drop to League 1 has meant Sunderland need to make a big decision on whether to keep him as his fitness is still a big doubt. With a year to go, a fee is very unlikely so accepting him leaving for free and therefore saving on his £20k wages is an appealing option. Like Berahino offering him a limited deal for any club from outside the top 8 has more upside than down, fails then it was worth a go, works out then you have a top attacking player.
Not the most prolific striker over the years, but his strength and pace would be appealing factors along with his potential transfer fee £2m+ for any of the clubs who will be in and around the bottom half of the Premier League.
The best left foot in the EFL, he is 25, has 1 year left on his contract and last season scored 8 assisted 16 goals. He come from the North East so a move to Newcastle at around £2m plus add on’s makes sense.
Not long ago he was a team mate of James Maddison at Coventry, both rated highly since his move to Wolves his career has dipped massively and now he is at Colchester. Form last season started to pick up and a move by Brighton, Southampton or Crystal Palace for him fits their recruitment model, any bid of around £750k would be accepted. That type of fee is no great loss for a squad member who is 22.
Totally underrated, how he never made the League 2 PFA team is beyond mind boggling. Scores and assists from right back at 24 with a year to go on his contract if Norwich lose Aarons then Sweeney would be a bargain replacement of around £500k+.
Grimsby’s purchase in January has taken to English football so well and his departure is inevitable with only a year on his contract. If I was a club like Palace, Leicester or Southampton I would jump in now before a championship club takes a punt and he costs even more in a few years time. Anything around £1m would be accepted.
Like a few other lads in this list, injuries have cost him so much of his career, on his day he’s a Rolls Royce of a midfielder. At 26 his career needs refreshing, a club who can accept he will not play all season and lets him train to maintain his fitness could be onto a winner. Another man with a year on his contract, due to low playing time at Derby they could not ignore any bid north of £500k+ but at the same time would feel hard done by if he did move for that fee. Impressive for Luton on loan last season a move back closer to his roots (Kent) so either London or the South Coast could be beneficial, his playing type defiantly epitomises the West Ham way.
Next week in my final piece in the value for money series I am looking around Europe.
What do you make of these suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image credit stokecityfc.com