Now that the Premier League transfer window has finally ‘slammed shut’ as Jim White loves to say, clubs in England’s top division are limited to only being able to sign new recruits from the English Football League. So with this in mind, we decided to take a look at some of the best talent available in the Championship that clubs should be taking a look at in the next week.
After making so many headlines last season with their fascinating club structure and scouting, fluid style of football and all round quality, it would be easy to just write a whole article about Brentford here. However, we’ll restrict ourselves to just one player for now and that player is Josh Da Silva. The 21-year-old is a former Arsenal youth product and after rejecting a contract offer at the Emirates in 2018, joined Brentford on a four year deal. Da Silva initially started as a forward but has eventually developed into a central midfielder and is comfortable operating in a box-to-box role, a role which suits his athletic ability.
Not an initial starter at Brentford, Da Silva has worked his way into the team and is now considered one of the first names on the team sheet, contributing 10 goals last season in 47 appearances. Da Silva has already found the net once this season as he continues to impress in a team that seems to be struggling to hit the heights of last season. Despite being very impressive physically, Da Silva is fantastic technically and the combination of these two things mean he is often able to dominate the midfield. His contributions aren’t just restricted to helping the team going forward as Da Silva has been able to adapt his game to bring in more defensive elements too, with a huge 135 ground duels won last season.
Da Silva wouldn’t command a huge fee but teams could find it difficult to lure the England youth midfielder away from Brentford after he’s finally begun to find his feet and just recently signed a new contract at The Bees until 2024. If any Premier League club were able to do so then they would have an excellent young prospect on their hands who would massively benefit from the experience of playing at a higher level.
Next up we have a player who actually had a brief stint in the Premier League previously, Huddersfield Town’s Karlan Grant. The former Charlton Athletic forward is reportedly of interest to West Brom, however, he would be a shrewd signing for a number of other Premier League clubs too and it is a shock that demand is not more widespread. Grant has made 56 appearances for Huddersfield Town and in that time managed to bag 23 goals, not a bad record when you consider that 13 of those appearances were for a struggling Premier League side bound for relegation.
Grant is a pacy striker who has a real eye for goal and isn’t afraid to try the unexpected. Only 3 players managed more goals in the Championship last season (2 of those are now in the Premier League) and similarly only 3 players had more shots than Grant too. Grant probably wouldn’t come too cheap as he is considered to be one of Huddersfield’s biggest assets, however, that shouldn’t be stopping more Premier League clubs from showing an interest in the 23-year-old.
Onto a player who is much less known – Millwall’s Jed Wallace. At 26 years of age, Wallace has been in the game for a while now but as he has gained more experience, his influence on games has definitely grown. A former Portsmouth and Wolves player, Wallace has begun to thrive in a Millwall side who narrowly missed out on the playoffs last season. Wallace is an attacking player and can operate in an attacking midfield role or wide on either flank. He can be considered a set-piece specialist and this ability to deliver a dangerous ball makes him a hugely effective crosser in open play too. No player attempted more crosses in the Championship than Wallace’s 369, the closest anyone could get to that was Stewart Downing, some way behind, with 299.
Last season was the best of Wallace’s career to date as he managed to record 10 goals and 13 assists in 43 appearances. He also collected 7 man of the match awards and has continued that form into the current season where he has already notched 2 goals and a man of the match award so far. Although rather an unknown quantity, Wallace doesn’t have the level of experience that clubs might be looking for at the top level, however, he would come at a relatively cheap price and could be an excellent squad player for a number of teams at an affordable price. I think this would be a sensible bit of business for sides looking to boost their squads or bring in cover for injuries.
The final addition to our list is Swansea’s Matt Grimes. The 25-year-old is predominantly a central midfielder but can also player slightly further back or even on the left. Grimes has been an ever-present feature of Swansea’s side for a while now and notched 48 appearances for the Welsh side last campaign. During these appearances for an excellent Swansea team who made their way into the playoffs last season, Grimes recorded 7 assists and 5 man of the match awards. Another set piece specialist, Grimes has a real eye for a through ball and is a solid defensive option in midfield. Indeed, he has featured in the top 10 for tackles made in the Championship for two years in a row now and last season only one player could boast more tackles than the Englishman.
A very combative player, Grimes gives his all and whilst not the most attack minded himself, his vision brings others into the game and creates chances in itself. Similarly to Wallace, I think Grimes would be a very good addition to quite a few squads in the Premier League, however, probably wouldn’t be part of too many starting XI’s to begin with. Another sensible bit of business, clubs would do well to move for Grimes with the intention of bolstering their squad with a solid, reliable midfielder who would likely come at a very reasonable price.
We narrowed the list down to 4, but who else do you think is a hidden gem in the Championship, let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!