A new season of Championship football is back underway and with two games already played, teams will have an early indication of where they need to strengthen before the end of the transfer window. While Vincent Kompany’s new-look Burnley have started strongly, winning and drawing to look like favourites for promotion with football betting odds, the likes of Norwich City and Luton Town, sides expected for a brighter start, have flattered to deceive this far.
It’s still too early to call where sides will finish before the season breaks up before the World Cup, and some key transfers could be the difference between a place in the Premier League or another season of mediocrity. New faces have also had an influence over the opening two results, some of which might not have garnered much attention. Read on, as we look at some summer transfers that have gone under the radar in the second tier this summer.
Marcus Forss – Brentford to Middlesbrough
Last season would have been a frustrating one for Middlesbrough, having lacked the consistency to earn a place in the playoff. A large part of that was down to a lack of cutting edge, something Chris Wilder has looked to rectify this summer with the signing of Marcus Forss from Brentford. The Finnish international spent last season on loan at Hull City but failed to impress at the MKM stadium.
This is a strange transfer and something of a gamble for ‘Boro as Wilder’s reputation with signing strikers has certainly taken a dent in recent years — £24 million for Rhian Brewster is still burning a hole in Sheffield United’s back pocket. Only time will tell if Forss can impress, but a debut goal against Queens Park Rangers was an encouraging start, albeit in a game that ended in a 3-2 defeat.
Gabriel Sara – São Paulo to Norwich
It’s rare to see a player from Brazil transfer directly to the Championship in the modern era. Usually they sign with hopes of keeping a newly promoted side afloat, but in a bid to go back up first time of asking Dean Smith has recruited £9 million man Gabriel Sara from São Paulo. The 23-year-old will be a creative force in the Canary’s midfield, filling the void left by Pierre Lees-Melou who returned to France.
Smith is confident in Sara’s abilities and believes he and fellow new signing, fellow South American Marcelino Núñez, can add that extra bit of quality in Norwich’s promotion push.
“From what we’ve seen in training, Marcelino is a bundle of energy, has really good connecting skills, can see a pass forward and can receive the ball very well,” he said. “Sara is very similar as well, and I think they can add a creative spark in the final third. “I’ve found them to be really hard working. They don’t just enjoy their football, they love their football.
Jean Michaël Seri – Fulham to Hull
There was a time that Jean Michaël Seri was one of the most sought-after midfielders in Europe. After impressing for Nice in Ligue 1, the Ivorian was a target for Barcelona and Arsenal before ending up at newly promoted Fulham. A disastrous spell in west London saw the Cottagers relegated and Seri endure a succession of loan moves to Galatasaray and Bordeaux before signing for Hull this summer. At 31 years old, he’ll have plenty of experience to offer the Tigers and if he can show just a small fraction of the talent he did on French shores, Shota Arveladze will have plenty to shout about.