5 EFL Championship players who are ready to make a switch to the Premier League.
Founded in 2004, the English Football League (EFL) Championship, or simply, the Championship is the highest division in the English football league system, after the Premier League. It has featured numerous talents and rising icons of football over the years. Gareth Bale, Jamie Vardy, Joleon Lescott, have all started their careers from the Championship before getting promoted and making their names on the bigger stage.
While Premier League players are getting all the attention, there are many players in the EFL Championship who have been successful in showcasing their talents and are attracting the attention of the top-flight sides and are capable of shining at the bigger stage.
Without much ado, let us look at five such players who are most likely to play in the Premier League pretty soon.
#5 Tom Cairney
The Scottish international midfielder, Tom Cairney, started his career in 2009 with Hull City in the Premier League but was relegated during his first season in the top-flight.
He then spent three seasons with Hull City in the Championship before the Tigers sent him on loan to Blackburn Rovers in 2013. He performed well during his loan period and Blackburn eventually signed him permanently at the end of the season.
A year later, Fulham came calling for him and he got transferred to the Craven Cottage in 2015. He performed brilliantly during his first season at the club and was appointed as the club captain in the following season. He has scored 21 league goals for the club in 102 games and was Fulham's Player of the Season for the 2016-2017 season.
Fulham has rejected several bids from West Ham United in the January transfer window, but it will be difficult to contain him in the Championship beyond this summer.
#4 Ben Gibson
Middlesbrough's vice-captain, Ben Gibson is one of the two players on this list to have prior Premier League experience.
Middlesbrough academy graduate, Ben Gibson made his debut in 2010 but established himself in the first-team scenario only in the 2013-2014 season after his loan spells at Plymouth Argyle, York City, and Tranmere Rovers. Middlesbrough narrowly missed the promotion in the 2014-2015 season after losing to Norwich City in the play-off finals before eventually getting promoted in the 2015-2016.
Although Middlesbrough relegated back to the Championship just after one season, Ben Gibson performed really well and received his first national call-up for a World Cup qualifier match.
With the number of top-flight clubs looking for a good center-back, it won't be surprising to see Ben Gibson playing in the Premier League next season.
#3 James Maddison
Dubbed as the new 'Dele Ali', Norwich City's midfielder, James Maddison is in a sensational form this season and is by far the best player in the struggling Norwich City side.
Best known for his dribbling, great vision, and finishing skills, James Maddison is one of the best Englishmen playing outside the Premier League. The Coventry-born midfielder has already scored nine goals this season, along with the six assists recorded to his name.
He has recently made his England U-21 debut, and if he continues to deliver with the same consistency, the England senior team call-up is not too far away for him.
Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester City have all been linked heavily with him recently, and it will be interesting to see which club he opts to play for next season.
#2 Ruben Neves
Football fans across the globe were surprised when Portuguese international Ruben Neves joined the Championship club Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2017.
Since his move to the Wolves, Ruben Neves has been in brilliant form and is playing an important part in the club's push for the EFL Championship title this season. He has scored four goals so far this campaign and will be one of the top contenders for the EFL Championship Player of the Season award.
Regarded as the golden boy of Portuguese football, Ruben Neves is a defensive midfielder possessing good tackling and passing skills. He is Porto's youngest league goalscorer and is the youngest player ever to start a Champions League game as a captain.
Reportedly, Manchester United have been linked with the player and will try to lure him away when the transfer window re-opens in summer.
Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon, who primarily plays at left-back or as a left-midfield player, is one of the hottest talents in Europe right now.
Known for his speed and dribbling, Sessegnon made his league debut for Fulham, in August 2016, against Leeds. He scored his first league goal in his second league game, which came against Cardiff City, and by doing so he became the youngest ever goalscorer in the EFL Championship's history. He continued his good performance throughout his debut season and got selected in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.
Ryan Sessegnon started the 2017-2018 season even more strongly, and has already scored 14 goals while also recording four assists to his name.
With clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham being heavily linked with him, it will be surprising to see him play in the Championship beyond this summer.