The transfer window is nearly upon us and we find ourselves in the all too familiar situation of players who are too good for the league they are playing in. You see it time and time again, certain players have such a stellar season but their clubs can’t find a way out of the league. Those players then want a new challenge because they know that they are way too good for the league, and then it’s a waiting game to see which team wants to stump up the money needed to buy someone who oozes quality but it would undoubtedly be a risk. Today, I take a look at five players who will be in a League One team come the transfer window, that shouldn’t be with them when it finishes.
Linked with: Liverpool
The current Crewe Alexandra left back spent last season leading their team into the third tier of English Football, however he could be someone to make the jump to the Championship if the right club came along. The 6’0 tall full back came through their academy and made his debut for Crewe in 2017, and has made the left back spot his own in recent years. The 21-year-old played 39 times for Crewe last season, scoring three goals in all competitions.
In a surprise news story earlier this month, it was reporting that Liverpool were eyeing up a possible back up for Andy Robertson at left back, and they had been taking an interest in Pickering after seeing him for Crewe, with his style of play being ‘similar’ to that of Robertson. It would be one of the more surprising transfers of the summer, but Pickering’s emphasis on attack could lead him in good stead for a big move in the summer.
Despite Pickering’s link with Liverpool, I can’t see him making that much of a jump this quickly. For me, a move to a solid Championship side could be the best fit for the young defender:
- Norwich – The Canaries relegation to the Championship will have a substantial impact of Norwich City for the new season, and they will be bracing themselves for some big bids for their talented youngsters, particularly Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis. If the latter was to leave, then don’t be surprised if Daniel Farke targets another young British full back to take his spot.
- Bristol City – With Jay Dasilva on a season long loan from Chelsea, and Frank Lampard putting an emphasis on his younger players, Bristol City will be in the market for a new wing back who can go forward and defend when needed. My pick for Pickering’s next destination.
- Cardiff City – Joe Bennett reached the ripe old age of 30 in March, so Neil Harris could be on the lookout for someone to take the reins from Bennett in the near future, and what better option can there be than a talented English defender.
Linked with: Nottingham Forest, Fulham
The Oxford United captain played a standout role in the U’s season and playoff campaign, scoring rave reviews from many pundits for his leadership and overall quality with the ball. Dickie began his career with Reading in the Championship, spending time out on loan at Basingstoke, Cheltenham Town and Lincoln City before making a permanent switch to Oxford in January of 2018.
The 23-year-old played 34 times for Oxford this season, and was named the Supporter’s Player of the Season for his season. According to Football League World, Nottingham Forest and Fulham look like the favourites for Dickie’s signature this summer, with both sides preparing a £3million bid for the defender.
Their interest in Dickie could be decided by the league that they both find themselves in next season. Both Fulham and Forest will not both be playing in the Premier League next season, and if either of them do find themselves stepping up a league, then Rob Dickie may not be their primary target.
Dickie’s links to Forest and Fulham are more likely than Pickering’s switch to Liverpool, but here are three teams who I think should be taking an interest in Dickie’s signature this summer:
- Derby County – With Phillip Cocu implementing a passing style of play at Derby, and Matt Clarke’s loan deal ending when the season finishes, then Rob Dickie could be someone that Cocu eyes up in the summer. The Rams were linked with Dickie in the winter transfer window.
- Preston North End – Salford City announced the signing of Tom Clarke a few days back, with the Preston captain leaving the club with a depleted centre back position. With Ben Davies and Patrick Bauer nailed on starters this season, someone like Rob Dickie could be the perfect player for Alex Neil’s side for the new campaign.
- Swansea City – Steve Cooper’s side have switched to a three-at-the-back side for the past three games, but has been using right back Kyle Naughton as one of the three centre backs, with the club only having three first choice defenders in the squad at this current moment. Partnering Van der Hoorn and Rodon with Rob Dickie could be a very potent defensive set up for Swansea next season.
Linked with: Brentford
The top goalscorer in the top four divisions this season has been one of the most talked about transfer movement of the summer, with Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony admitting that his star striker may be on the market this summer. Posh fans and fellow players will be hoping that Toney can stay for another season, because his presence up front could be the driving force for Peterborough to take that final push into the Championship that they richly deserve.
However, it’s never easy for the top goalscorer to be kept at the club over the transfer window. We saw it last year when James Norwood moved from Tranmere to Ipswich. The English striker has been linked with an extensive list of clubs over the past few months, with Brentford being the most recent. That rumour would only be carried out if Brentford were to lose Ollie Watkins this summer.
Ivan Toney is the player in this list that could make the jump into the Premier League depending on the club offered to him, so here are the three teams that I think he would fit right into.
- Aston Villa – With Wesley and Samatta being big-money signings from Aston Villa this season, a relegation could mean that need to cut their losses on two players who would be on extortionate money. If they can get those two of the books, then going after someone who would remind the Villa fans of a faster Tammy Abraham could be their ticket back into the Premier League, or even keeping them in the Premier League next season.
- Leeds United – Out of the three most likely teams for promotion, Leeds United are the side with the least quality in attack. Someone like Patrick Bamford is a very good Championship striker, but his occasional lapses in quality could be a problem for Leeds next season. If Bielsa wants to take a chance on an English striker, then Ivan Toney could be the man to lead their line.
- Bournemouth – Eddie Howe’s side look like they could be falling down into the Championship next season, and if they are to be relegated, then I can’t see Callum Wilson staying with the Cherries for the new season. If he was to leave, then it would be Dominic Solanke being the leading man for them in the new season. Taking on someone like Ivan Toney could be the big move that Eddie Howe makes going into the next campaign.
Linked with: Brentford, Blackburn
The Irish winger was Portsmouth’s best player this season, but with the south coast side unable to secure another promotion into the Championship this year, then time could be ticking on how long they can keep Ronan Curtis around. The midfielder scored 14 goals this season for Pompey, and was their key outlet in the play offs this month.
However, Curtis’ patience looks to be running thin with his side falling at the final hurdle two seasons in a row, so a move to the Championship could be on the cards for the pacey winger. Curtis has already been earmarked as a possible replacement for Said Benrahma at Brentford, but I can only see that move happening if Brentford were to miss out on promotion.
If they did get themselves up, then a jump to the Premier League might be a step too far for Curtis. The links with Blackburn first arose in January, with Pompey setting a £3million price tag on Ronan’s head with Blackburn unwilling to meet that offer.
The move to Brentford hinges on their own success this season, but a position at Blackburn might still be on the cards for Curtis if he wants to pursue that move, although there are three other teams he could look at:
- Derby County – Phillip Cocu’s switch to a wide formation has put a lot of emphasis on the wingers in his team to take a stand and be the bright sparks in the side. Outside of Tom Lawrence, Derby County don’t seem to have out-and-out wingers to depend on for the final few games of this season. Someone like Ronan Curtis could be the perfect player to slot on the left-hand side of the pitch, or even the right and float around with Tom Lawrence. Those two in support of Waghorn could be dynamite next year.
- Sheffield Wednesday – With the release of Fletcher and Forestieri, Sheffield Wednesday have been short of goals recently, bar the brilliant 3-0 win away to QPR. Having someone with two feet of such power on both sides of the pitch at any time could be the key for the Owl’s pursuit on the top half next season. Bring in Curtis, and watch him link up with Barry Bannan all season long.
- Preston North End – Preston spent a lot of money on Scott Sinclair in the January transfer window, and in that time, he has returned three goals in 18 games. With Irish internationals like Alan Browne and Sean Maguire already at the club, a move to Preston could be exactly what Ronan Curtis needs for his career. With players like Daniel Johnson and Jayden Stockley around him, he could shine in Lancashire.
Linked with: Crystal Palace
I will try and take every piece of bias out of this as possible, but Flynnidine Zidownes should be on Barcelona’s wishlist end of. Okay obviously he’s not ending up there, but the kid has a very bright future in the game if he gets his head down in games. Flynn was one of the standout performances in Ipswich’s worst season in 67 years.
Thanks Paul. Five-year contract after that. Anyway, back to Flynn, he does deserve all the praise he can get. His loan spell with Luton Town when they were in League Two helped mature him as a midfielder, and playing alongside Cole Skuse has allowed Flynn to experiment with a more box-to-box style play this year. He has already been linked with Arsenal, Newcastle and boyhood club West Ham this season, but most recently it was revealed that Crystal Palace were the latest side to be interested in the Englishman.
I love Flynn, and I don’t want to see him leave Ipswich as he could be the real driving force in our midfield this season, but I can see him leaving at some point this season. However, I don’t think it should be to a Premier League side if he wants to focus on his development:
- Blackburn Rovers – In their last game, Blackburn’s midfield pairing in front of Lewis Travis was Stewart Downing and Bradley Johnson. A combined age of 68. Someone like Flynn could be the perfect player for Blackburn if they already have someone like Travis to protect the defence, and let Flynn be their box-to-box midfielder.
- Fulham – A slight punt, bit with Scott Parker’s emphasis on passing play, someone like Flynn could be the ideal player for Scott to develop for the new season. This move would be dependent of Fulham’s league status next season, but if they are to stay in the Championship, then Flynn could be the ideal player to fill the void left by departing Harrison Reed.
- Swansea City – Another team with an emphasis on passing play, Swansea need someone to be their powerhouse midfield next season. If Flynn is not seen as a roaming midfielder, and is pinpointed for his defensive capabilities, then Swansea could be his new home. Playing out from the back is one of Downes’ strengths, picking the ball up deep and moving it forward if he is tasked with that position. Swansea could be an interesting play for the youngster.
What do you guys think? Is Harry Pickering joining the Champions? Can Ivan Toney make the jump into the Premier League? Are Rob Dickie, Flynn Downes and Ronan Curtis stand outs for the majority of Championship teams next season. Let me know in the comments below and make sure to follow All Out Football on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.