Looking Ahead: Promoted Stars

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The football feast shows no sign of letting up.

As the domestic campaigns reach their conclusion, heads start to turn to a bumper summer of European action.

But hold that thought, because there is still the small matter of the EFL Championship play-offs to come, with the final dubbed the world’s most lucrative football match and one which delivers a coveted Premier League place.

Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion are already back among the elite, with one of Brentford, Fulham, Swansea City, and Cardiff City set to join them.

If this Premier League season has been all about Jack Grealish (£5.16), Dean Henderson (£1.54), and Emiliano Buendia (£2.06), then who could the next promoted stars be?

Ivan Cavaleiro (£0.37)


Capped 64 times at Portuguese youth level, with two appearances for the senior side. Career transfer fees totalling nearly £40 million. Still only 26 years old.

All this, combined with six goals and seven assists in the Championship this term, makes Ivan Cavaleiro seem something of a snip at £0.37, particularly given he could be plying his trade in the Premier League next season.

Cavaleiro has already played in the English top-flight, turning out on 23 occasions for Wolves last year, scoring three goals.

But with a glut of countrymen filling his position at Molineux – as well as the small matter of Adama Traore (£3.21) – the former Benfica academy graduate had to step down to step up.

With left-back Joe Bryan (£0.37) providing seven assists down the other flank for the Cottagers this season, there should be plenty of ammunition for leading marksman Aleksandar Mitrovic (£1.00) in the upcoming play-offs.

Said Benrahma (£2.05)


Sure, Said Benrahma has showreels. A ton of them. But the gifted Algerian midfielder is not some sort of inconsistent luxury player. His statistics this season prove that, with 91 chances created (5th highest in the league) and 17 goals scored (6th highest).

But most crucially he has become the fulcrum of Thomas Frank’s attack-minded outfit at Griffin Park. And the Bees could, thanks to a terrific campaign, grace the Premier League next season for the first time ever.

Benrahma has benefited from being at a club that arguably taps the French market better than anyone else.

Neal Maupay (£0.91) left Griffin Park for £20m last summer – having arrived for £1.6m – and behind Benrahma, French youth international Bryan Mbeumo is ready to make an impression too.

So whether Benrahma moves on or not – if Brentford don’t go up he likely will – it shouldn’t impede the club’s upward trajectory.

Helder Costa (£0.62)

Leeds United

What will Marcelo Bielsa do now that Leeds United have made it to the promised land?

Keep faith with the squad that got him there? Lean on his extensive black book to bring in elite signings?

Either way, Helder Costa will surely be one of those to remain at Elland Road.

Like Cavaleiro, Costa was part of Wolves’ sizeable Portuguese contingent – and another on the books of Gestifute, the agency that counts Cristiano Ronaldo (£3.23) and Bernardo Silva (£1.94) as clients – in their first season back in the Premier League in 2018/19.

But Leeds picked up the ex-Portuguese youth international on loan last summer and made his move permanent in a £16m deal earlier this month.

The 26-year-old is inventive, pacy and skillful, and at just £0.62, has plenty of upside on the Index.

Filip Krovinovic (£0.61)

West Bromwich Albion

Earlier this week, The Telegraph reported that the West Bromwich Albion could turn Filip Krovinovic’s loan move from Benfica into a permanent deal for just £6m.

And for anyone who has watched the influential midfielder in action this term, that looks like good value for money.

The former Croatian under-21 international, a compatriot of boss Slaven Bilic, has been deployed in multiple roles, playing as a number 10 in the early months before moving further back to accommodate the likes of Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana (£1.29).

And he has always gone about his task with understated quality, such as his fine finish again Blackburn Rovers on July 11 that helped maintain his side’s promotion push.

He could be one to watch as West Brom return to the elite for the first time since 2017/18.

Josh Murphy (£0.33)

Cardiff City

It’s been a difficult few years for Josh Murphy, as he has dealt with the anxiety of being apart from twin brother Jacob Murphy (£0.23), who moved to Newcastle United from their hometown club Norwich City, before Josh himself left the Canaries to join Cardiff for £11m in July 2018.

But Josh is coming into his own in the Welsh capital, and though it won’t be his debut in the top-flight – the ex-England youth international made 29 Premier League appearances in 2018/19 – he looks better equipped now to make his mark.

Despite only making 16 starts for the Bluebirds in the Championship this term, he has returned five goals and three assists, including a vital double in his side’s penultimate league fixture with Middlesborough which helped secure their play-off place.

Cardiff lost their most recent meeting with Fulham – their play-off semi-final opponent – but the prospect of an all-Welsh final with Swansea could yet inspire them to victory.

*Prices accurate at time of writing.


About Author

Rob is a football writer who has featured on MARCA, Crystal Palace and Mundial.

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