The Championship season has come to a close with the relegations spot 99% confirmed, but there is still the small matter of the Wigan Athletic appeal to decide the fate of both them and Barnsley. However, we can look ahead now to the teams dropping into and climbing out of League One, as well as the teams staying put for another season longer.
The most important position on the football pitch is your striker, as goals win you games. Someone on the precipice of Championship football is 28-year-old Armand Gnanduillet, recently released from League One Blackpool after scoring 18 goals in all competitions last season. Today, I take a look at five teams who could really use a powerhouse like Gnanduillet in their attack next season.
Lee Bowyer’s side suffered the unfortunate tale of relegation on the final day of the Championship season, as a 4-0 loss to Champions Leeds United confirmed their relegation. With their drop into League One, and the previously confirmed departure of star striker Lyle Taylor a few months back, Charlton will be on the lookout for a striker to partner Macauley Bonne next season. The 24-year-old scored 11 goals for the Addicks last season, jumping up three leagues in the process, and looks to be the clear leader for Charlton as they look to bounce back to the Championship.
Bowyer’s side spent the majority of last season playing with two up front, and Gnanduillet could be the star signing next season to partner Bonne up top and send Charlton back up. There will be interest from Championship sides for Gnanduillet’s signature, but if he can’t find a Championship move then don’t be surprised if someone like Charlton could be Armand’s best chance of getting into the second tier.
The recently promoted League One side will be looking for reinforcements for their first adventure on the Championship, and the attack will be their first point of call. Wycombe’s defence got them promoted last season, with a star-studded striker needed for Gareth Ainsworth’s side if they are to keep themselves above the drop zone.
James Collins proved for Luton this season that the step from League One to the Championship is not drastic, and Gnanduillet could be the ideal player to replace or partner Alex Samuel next season. As much as the world loves Adebayo Akinfenwa, and how much I specifically am looking forward to seeing him bully the relegated Premier League defences, I can’t see him getting double digits like he did this season.
Starting Gnanduillet and Samuel together could be the key for Wycombe, and then bringing on Akinfenwa late on is probably the more likely option for Ainsworth. I don’t know how much money Wycombe will have to spend on players, so taking up the option of a free agent capable of being a Championship player should be on their wishlist.
A big area of concern for Wednesday is their depleted attacking force. Steven Fletcher was released a few weeks back. Atdhe Nuhiu was announced as part of the ‘unretained’ list of players for release. Connor Wickham has returned to Crystal Palace after his loan spell ended. Sam Winnall has been linked with a few League One teams in the past few weeks as well. It leaves Garry Monk’s side with just Jordon Rhodes as their central striker, but he only scored three goals last season.
A striker has to be top of Monk’s wish list for the new season, and with the national reported money problems the Yorkshire side are dealing with, pouncing on a free agent like Gnanduillet could be exactly what the club needs to send it in the right direction. Couple that with a quick and nimble striker could be the perfect concoction for Monk’s side next season. Don’t be surprised if Sheffield Wednesday are a team that make a late push for Gnanduillet once their point deduction possibilities are settled.
The announcement of Carlos Corberan as the new head coach of Huddersfield Town may throw a spanner in the works in terms of bringing Gnanduillet in. If the Cowley’s were still in charge of Huddersfield, then Gnanduillet would probably have been high on their wish list. I think the Terriers are resigned to losing Karlan Grant in the window, and the recently released retained list has spelled the end of Elias Kachunga and Colin Quaner’s time with the club, Huddersfield are in desperate need of a striker.
Corberan will have his contacts all around the globe, but if he wants to keep his scouting close to home, then Gnanduillet could be the ideal player to lead their line next season. Expect Huddersfield to be looking further afield for players now that Corberan is in, but keep an eye out for some movement within England. Obviously if Grant was to stay, then a striker would not be at the top of their transfer targets, but I would find it very surprising if he was a Huddersfield player come September 12th, so keep your eyes peeled Huddersfield fans. It’ll be an interesting summer ahead.
Probably the best team on the list in terms of club stature, but the only side to have actually shown an interest in Gnanduillet over the past few weeks and month. On the 15th of June 2020, The Deepdale Digest reported on the possibility of Preston North End making a move for Armand for the new season.
As far as the striker position goes for Preston, Sean Maguire and Jayden Stockley have done well this season, but they have only scored 9 goals between them. With Tom Barkhuizen and Daniel Johnson carrying the load, Preston could be eyeing up a possible move for a new striker to add to very potent frontline. I expect Alex Neil to keep faith with 26-year-old Jayden Stockley, but don’t rule out a move for Gnanduillet at some time in the transfer window.
Despite his 6’4 frame, Gnanduillet is a very mobile striker who is very dangerous in the air. It would be a risk for a team of Preston’s stature to take a punt on a 28-year-old with no Championship experience, but they did the same with Exeter’s Jayden Stockley when he was in League Two. Alex Neil has a habit of developing players outside of the Championship, so Gnanduillet could be a very cheap option who could pay off for the next few years, scoring a bunch of goals on the way round.
What do you guys think? Is Armand Gnanduillet ready for the Championship, or will another season in League One do him good. In my opinion, I think that Sheffield Wednesday may be the best team for him. With a very limited front line, Gnanduillet wouldn’t have to battle someone for the starting spot, and with the talent in midfield, it could be a very interesting season for the Owls if he is picked up. Let me know in the comments below and make sure to follow All Out Football on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.