The transfer window has transformed. The amount of money in the game now means that the big clubs will often spend £50m plus on European stars who are unproven in the English game. This summer however, we are seeing a slight change in how Premier League clubs go about their business and such is the strength and quality of the players in the Championship, the best players are being picked off.
Manchester United made their first signing of the summer a Championship one as they brought in speedy winger Daniel James from Swansea in a deal worth £15m. That seems like a good deal for both teams as the Welsh side look to keep their finances stable as their parachute payments are withdrawn.
Southampton have spent the same amount of money on Birmingham’s Che Adams, who scored a remarkable 22 goals for the Blues last term. Instead of spending that money abroad they have invested it in a striker whose physicality and pace will make him a perfect fit for the Premier League, which seems like a wise move.
The second tier transfers haven’t ended there. Bristol City left-back Lloyd Kelly has joined Premier League side Bournemouth for £13m, Jack Clarke has moved to Spurs for £10m and Craig Dawson has swapped West Brom for Watford in a deal worth £5m. These transfers are becoming increasingly common as Premier League clubs look to invest their money wisely.
The standard in the Championship has increased so much in recent years that you could replace the bottom six sides in the Premier League with the top six in the Championship and see no drop in standard. Clubs in the second tier can now boast a stronger financial position which allows them to charge a premium for their players, but they are a safer bet than a risky purchase from abroad.
Take James Maddison as a prime example. Leicester splashed out £22m to bring him to the Premier League when Norwich were still a Championship side which seemed like a good deal given his obvious quality. That expenditure now looks like a bargain as he is now being touted as a £60m player, with Tottenham and Manchester United interested in securing his services.
The fee the Foxes shelled out was actually the fourth biggest ever on a player from a Championship team. Only Moussa Sissoko, Jordan Pickford and Georginio Wijnaldum cost more money and the two from Newcastle never made an appearance in England’s second tier.
There is serious potential and value to be had by picking up players form the most competitive division in the world. Talents such as Jarrod Bowen, Bradley Dack and Jayden Bogle could all be playing in the Championship next season and would certainly be worth looking at for several Premier League sides.
The market has now changed. Players in the second tier know that with one good season they will be on their way to the top flight and clubs now know they can get a decent fee for their star men. Sensible business all round.