Ranked! The Championship’s 10 smartest transfers of the summer
10. Jacob Davenport, Blackburn
Blackburn have resumed life in the Championship with a pair of back-to-back draws against Ipswich and Millwall respectively. Tony Mowbray has kept faith with many of the players who won promotion from League One, but also made a handful of youthful additions to complement his existing squad.
Jacob Davenport might have to bide his time, but the 19-year-old midfielder – who can also fill in at full-back – has a bright future ahead of him. He progressed through the ranks at Manchester City but found his path to the first team blocked by a wealth of outstanding senior players.
Half a season on loan with Burton prepared him for the demands of competitive football and playing under pressure. Building on that experience, Davenport – who has previously represented England at U18 level – moved to Ewood Park for a nominal fee this summer.
9. Dwight Gayle, West Brom
It was a deal that seemed to rumble on in the background all summer, but wasn’t actually completed until three days before the transfer window closed. West Brom swapped Salomon Rondon for Newcastle’s Gayle, both moving on loan for the season. The arrangement seems to suit all parties and gives Darren Moore the prolific striker he’s been searching for.
In recent years, Gayle has almost become the quintessential example of a goalscorer struggling to bridge the gap between Championship and Premier League. He scored 23 times in 32 appearances during Newcastle’s promotion season, but is seemingly too limited to make a serious impression at the very top – as his record of a goal every 223 minutes in the top flight suggests.
That won’t be of any concern to West Brom, however, as long his pace and sharp shooting do the trick from now until May.
8. Joel Asoro, Swansea
Among the few positives in another traumatic season for Sunderland were the opportunities granted to a clutch of promising young players. With more established figures failing to perform, Chris Coleman explored other options including Josh Maja and Joel Asoro.
The latter, a Swedish youth international of Ghanaian descent, became Graham Potter’s first major signing for Swansea last month. Asoro is an explosive and tricky winger who has been watched by some of Europe’s biggest clubs, and his arrival is in keeping with an emphasis on brave, attacking football that was lost towards the end of Swansea’s stay in the Premier League.
At 19, he’s only going to get better too.
7. Kristian Pedersen, Birmingham
Left-back had long been a problem position for Birmingham. Although Jonathan Grounds had given the club good service over a number of years, particularly considering he joined on a free transfer from Oldham during a period of self-imposed austerity, he was never sufficiently dynamic or capable on the ball to offer an attacking threat.
And so arrived Kristian Pedersen, a £2.5 million signing from Union Berlin. Due to Birmingham’s transfer embargo, his registration was only completed shortly before the opening game of the season, a spirited 2-2 draw with Norwich.
There were a couple of moments of suspect positioning, but the 24-year-old Dane pushed forward well and delivered some dangerous set-pieces. He will be an automatic selection for Garry Monk.
6. Adam Webster, Bristol City
Having managed to cling on to Aden Flint last summer, despite numerous tempting offers, it was always unlikely that he would remain with Bristol City after another season that brought plenty of goals and big contributions. So after the stopper was sold to Middlesbrough for £7m, manager Lee Johnson acted quickly to secure Ipswich’s Adam Webster as his replacement.
Webster is six years younger and substantially cheaper than the departing Flint, and it looks like the Robins might well have got the better end of the deal. He’s more comfortable in possession and when playing the ball out from the back, and is a necessary and timely replacement.
The 23-year-old might not score as many headers from set-pieces as Flint did, but he’ll have an appreciable influence on how Bristol City play.