Talentspotter

5 Football League stars who might soon offer some Premier League value

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3. Sam Winnall (Barnsley)

Another player out of contract next summer, Winnall was an irresistible force in League One last term – albeit only after Lee Johnson had departed, allowing him to flourish in a settled 4-4-2 formation alongside Ashley Fletcher.

The 25-year-old finished the season with 23 goals, equalling his tally for Scunthorpe two seasons prior, and a similar haul at Championship level could trigger a scramble for his signature. Right now, the Tykes would probably be compelled to accept a bid in the region of £1 million – loose change to any Premier League club.

4. Daniel Johnson (Preston North End)

A Jamaica-born midfielder offloaded 18 months ago by Aston Villa for a paltry £50,000. Johnson is also a tidy schemer in the Jack Wilshere mould, and started out as a winger due to the threat posed by his pace on attacking transitions, but his ability on the ball has tempted Simon Grayson to move him inside where he can be more involved in build-up play.

Predominantly left-sided, an exemplary first touch means he is rarely dispossessed and he tends to thrive when playing off instinct in high-tempo exchanges, which points to Premier League potential. He also packs a wicked shot from distance.

Daniel Johnson

An exemplary first touch and a playing style resembling Jack Wilshere? Johnson looks a bargain

5. Liam Sercombe (Oxford)

Sercome is a tenacious box-to-box midfielder whose ability to control games in League Two was never in doubt, but his decision to leave hometown club Exeter after seven years last summer was necessary for him to shine among better players. 

Since joining the U’s, the 26-year-old appears to have perfected the art of timing runs into the opposition 18-yard box, enabling him to plunder 14 goals last term. If he can continue those exploits in League One, then the scouts should be flocking to the Kassam to witness a mature individual fast approaching his peak.

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