Ten Championship players who could step up to the Premier League - Clarke, Akpom and more

This year's Championship was full of talented players, with many having the ability to make the leap to the Premier League.

With Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton Town having secured promotion, Planet Sport takes a look at the players from the remaining Championship teams and assess ten who could feature in the top flight in the 2023/24 season.

Ismaila Sarr

Ismaila Sarr is one of the more obvious names for this list as he has already played in the Premier League for his current club Watford in two separate campaigns.

Sarr is regularly amongst his side's top scorers and this season has been no different with 10 goals and seven assists from 39 appearances. He also represented Senegal in both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

He possesses great ball control and vision, which was demonstrated when he scored from the halfway line early in the last campaign against West Brom.

He is often linked with a move to the Premier League, with Everton being one of the clubs mentioned, while AC Milan have also been sniffing around.

Viktor Gyokeres

Coventry City's Viktor Gyokeres celebrates scoring
Coventry City's Viktor Gyokeres celebrates scoring

After his first spell in the Championship with Swansea City, you could be forgiven for thinking he wasn't up to standard. In 11 matches, he failed to register a single goal contribution for the Swans as a forward.

After signing for Coventry in the 2020/21 season, he scored just three goals in 17 appearances, but his fortunes changed during the following campaign. In 45 matches during the 2021/22 season, he registered 22 goal contributions, 17 of which were goals.

He has been a completely different animal recently, racking up 21 goals and 10 assists. He played a massive role in Coventry's push to the play-off final.

Like Sarr, Everton have already expressed interest in the striker, while Crystal Palace and West Ham have also inquired about his availability.

Alex Scott

At just 19 years of age, Alex Scott is the youngest player on this list. While playing for Bristol City, he gained the nickname 'The Championship Grealish'. Referring to his ability to draw fouls and maintain possession when under pressure.

He also represents his national side England at under-20 level alongside other Championship prospects. He is often utilised in centre midfield but has also played on the wing as well as in attack.

He broke into the Robins' first team last season and scored four times, as well as providing two assists. The most recent campaign saw him score one goal and contribute five assists.

In this year's FA Cup, he met Jack Grealish, who was impressed with the young midfielder's style of play. He has drawn interest from many Premier League clubs but his contract alongside his young age could halt a move this summer.

Ilias Chair

In what has been a very disappointing campaign for QPR, Ilias Chair was one of the few standout players.

The versatile midfielder has been directly involved in 14 of the 44 goals the Rs scored. As well as this, he possesses elite-level ball control and can pick out a pass very well.

At 25 years of age, he has played four full seasons in the Championship for QPR as well as a loan spell in League Two with Stevenage in the 2018/19 season, when he registered 12 goal contributions in 16 matches.

He represents Morocco internationally and made an appearance in the most recent World Cup in Qatar. Like others on this list, Premier League clubs have been flirting with the idea of putting in an offer for him.

Recently relegated Leicester City have shown the most interest and Chair could be drafted in when the Foxes midfield is cleared out in the summer transfer window.

Jack Clarke

Unlike his previous spells in the Championship, Jack Clarke has had a blinder of a season for Sunderland.

The ex-Leeds United wonderkid played 46 games, scoring nine goals and registering 12 assists, giving him a resounding 21 goal contributions for the Black Cats.

Since arriving from Spurs on loan last season, Clarke has been a staple in the Sunderland side, helping them to win the League One play-offs last year before signing permanently last summer.

With Sunderland falling in the Championship play-offs this season, Premier League clubs could swoop. Crystal Palace have expressed interest in signing Clarke as a replacement for Wilfried Zaha should he leave Selhurst Park.

Burnley and Brentford have also reportedly been lining up bids for Clarke too.

Jordan Storey

At the start of the last campaign, Storey played a vital role in the Preston North End defence that barely conceded in the opening 10 games.

Storey possesses elite aerial ability and North End have reaped the rewards of this with very few aerial goals conceded this campaign.

He rejoined the Preston squad after a spell at Sheffield Wednesday in League One in early 2022, where he impressed as the Owls just missed out on promotion.

Storey has played 44 games in the Championship this season, scoring two goals. His discipline could be an issue as he picked up 10 yellow cards.

He could be of use to a Premier league side who play a more defensive brand of football or one who find themselves threatened by relegation.

Chuba Akpom

Middlesbrough's Chuba Akpom
Middlesbrough's Chuba Akpom

Although his initial season on Teesside left much to be desired, Akpom was the Championship's leading scorer last season with 28 goals.

Middlesbrough signed Akpom from Greece after a good spell with PAOK, where he was utilised as a striker and on the flanks.

With Middlesbrough falling to Coventry City in the Championship play-offs, he may be looking to broaden his horizons in the Premier League.

Like many others on this list, he has also represented his national side (England) at youth level earlier in his career.

The ex-Arsenal youth player already gathered interest from some of Europe's top leagues earlier this campaign after a good run of form and six Premier League clubs, including Everton and Crystal Palace, are reportedly interested in him.

Max Aarons

Like Sarr, Max Aarons has played two full seasons in the Premier League.

Norwich may not have had the campaign they wanted this year, but Aarons has performed well nonetheless. This season, he has made 45 appearances and has put in good defensive displays, as well as showing the ability to retain possession and attack down the wing when overlapping.

Often utilised as a right back, he is also capable of playing as a right midfielder and this is the position in which he holds a 7.39 rating this season.

At just 23 years of age, Aarons has a wealth of experience in the EFL as well with three full Championship seasons under his belt. Aarons is an ex-England under 21s player too.

Premier League clubs have scouted Aarons in the past and earlier this year, he had been linked with a return to the top flight with Tottenham, Fulham and Bournemouth taking the most interest.

He has also attracted German clubs Borussia Monchegladbach and Wolfsburg.

Dennis Cirkin

Although he endured a period of injury during last season, Dennis Cirkin quickly reclaimed his place in the Sunderland squad and has since performed admirably.

Signing from Tottenham in 2021, Cirkin initially made 37 appearances at left back for the Black Cats in League One.

He then added goals to his game, providing winning moments against the likes of Wigan and West Brom in the Championship. He scored five goals last season and contributed one assist from left back in 28 appearances.

Defensively, Cirkin's best trait is his bravery. He often throws himself in the way of powerful shots and battles with attackers on a regular basis.

A return to his ex-club Spurs has been recently debated as he has a buy back clause in his contract. Sunderland would see a huge profit if this were to be activated, but they would probably be keener to keep him.

Gustavo Hamer

Coventry City's Gustavo Hamer
Coventry City's Gustavo Hamer

Moving before the 2020/21 Championship season, Gustavo Hamer was a huge signing for Coventry City. The Sky Blues had been absent from the second tier for some time, and they wanted to ensure they did not slip back into League One.

Hamer made an instant impact, adding a new dimension to the Sky Blues' attack. In his first season, he scored five goals and contributed two assists in 42 appearances, visibly improving in confidence as the campaign went on.

The next season he scored three and assisted nine, while last season, he improved upon these totals, scoring nine and assisting 10 as the Sky Blues qualified for the Championship play-off final.

However, they did not secure promotion, and the 25-year-old has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs.

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