John Terry, Ruben Neves, Britt Assombalonga: Key Sky Bet Championship signings for 2017/18


John Terry leads a list of household names and unknown quantities set to light up the Championship when the EFL kicks off on Friday, live on Sky Sports.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea may be in an arms race to sign some of Europe’s hottest properties, but some of their players have swapped the comfort of the Premier League for the grit of the English second tier.

A 46-game campaign will be a new experience for plenty of players who have signed up for the Championship ahead of this season’s opening weekend, but which have been the most eye-catching transfers?
John Terry (Chelsea to Aston Villa)

Captain, leader, Villan. The way Aston Villa announced their signing of Terry with a fake WhatsApp group chat oozed cheese but there’s no doubt landing him is a coup for Steve Bruce’s side, even at the age of 36.
After 717 games for the Stamford Bridge side and 14 major trophy wins, there is no doubt his presence will help a Villa defence which was already one of the best in the league. Recently installed as the new club captain, the former England skipper will be expected to lead his team back into the Premier League in the coming months.

Andre Wisdom (Liverpool to Derby)

Defender Wisdom’s low haul of just 22 games in seven years for Liverpool only tells part of his story, with loan spells at Derby, West Brom and Norwich all giving him opportunities to develop before last season’s successful stay with Red Bull Salzburg, during which he helped them retain their Austrian Bundesliga title.
Wisdom now finds himself back at Derby after they paid £2m to bring him back to Pride Park on a permanent basis to play alongside the likes of fellow new recruit Tom Huddlestone and he’ll be a key player in their push for promotion.

Britt Assombalonga (Nottingham Forest to Middlesbrough)

Having made steady progress up through the leagues with Braintree, Southend Peterborough and Nottingham Forest, Assombalonga’s 14 goals for the latter last season resulted in a move which now sees him tasked with spearheading Middlesbrough’s bid for an instant return to the Premier League.
At £15m, Garry Monk has gone big for a player who has never struck more than 15 times in a Championship campaign. The former Watford trainee remains very much a player with great potential, though, and has already struck 84 competitive goals in his club career at the age of just 24.

Liam Boyce (Ross County to Burton Albion)

At first glance, a player moving from one of the Scottish Premiership’s more modest clubs to one of the Championship’s smallest doesn’t jump out but Boyce is a player Burton will have high hopes for.
Boyce’s 55 goals in three years show promise, as does the 26-year-old’s first international goal for Northern Ireland in June against New Zealand. He finished top of the Premiership scoring charts last term with 23 goals – two ahead of Celtic’s Scott Sinclair and six beyond the much-vaunted Moussa Dembele. He’s certainly one to watch.

Ruben Neves (Porto to Wolves)

One of the most mouth-watering moves in Championship has seen Ruben Neves join Wolves from Porto for a club record £15m.
Asked if a move to Wolves puts him in the shop window, Neves told the Express and Star: “It will be easier to move to the Premier League from here. I’m focused on getting better as a player and this is the right place to do so.”

Now 20, the defensive midfielder became the youngest captain in Champions League history in a game for his old side against Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2015. While some might still have reservations over the club’s partnership with Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes, those are likely to recede if Neves continues to show the promise he has in his early career.

David Stockdale (Brighton to Birmingham)

After helping Brighton win promotion to the Premier League, David Stockdale’s decision to stay behind for more Championship football with Birmingham surprised all. With Mathew Ryan moving to the AMEX from Valencia, Stockdale turned down a new contract to sign a three-year deal under Harry Redknapp at St Andrew’s instead.

Named in last term’s PFA Championship Team of the Year, the 31-year-old will bring added experience to a squad which perilously flirted with relegation right up to the final day of the campaign in May.

Kevin Stewart (Liverpool to Hull)

“I didn’t feel as though I could risk staying at Liverpool for another year and just play five to 10 games,” Stewart told the Hull Daily Mail, after completing a £4m switch (potentially rising to £8m). Hull have never spent so much money on a player when outside of the Premier League, but the 23-year-old seems ready to pay the club back.
The defensive midfielder, 23, earned a four-year deal at Liverpool a week after his Premier League debut in 2016, and while opportunities have been limited since then, Stewart will be eager to prove his top-flight pedigree at the KCOM Stadium.

Ollie Watkins (Exeter to Brentford)

The EFL Young Player of the Season has already been described as a “hell of a player” by his new Brentford manager, Dean Smith, and 21-year-old Ollie Watkins is arriving from the south west coast on a wave of excitement.
Devon-born Watkins scored 16 goals in 52 games as Exeter reached the play-offs, and the Bees will be hoping he can fill the boots of recently departed Scott Hogan.

Martin Braithwaite (Toulouse to Middlesbrough)

Joining for a £9m fee, according to Sky sources, Braithwaite arrives on Riverside with a hefty price tag. A former Newcastle triallist, Braithwaite scored 11 Ligue 1 goals while captaining Toulouse last season to help save the club from relegation.
The 26-year-old forward will now be expected to spearhead Boro’s charge to earn promotion back to the Premier League in a powerful strike partnership with Ashley Fletcher – who joined from West Ham in a £6.5m deal.

Josh Harrop (Manchester United to Preston)

After scoring on his Manchester United debut, Josh Harrop turned down a new contract at Old Trafford to sign a four-year deal at Preston.
The United U23 top goalscorer last season, with 10 goals, is a former England U20 international and having been honed at the club’s academy since his early days, Preston fans will be hoping Harrop can prove his top-level credentials at Deepdale.

Samuel Saiz (Huesca to Leeds)

Raised in the ranks of Real Madrid, Saiz journeyed around Spain before returning to the capital with rivals Atletico Madrid. The 26-year-old playmaker has now made the switch to Yorkshire, via 13 goals and eight assists for Spanish second-tier side Huesca.

After beating off competition from several La Liga sides for his signature, Saiz has impressed those at Elland Road enough to earn a four-year deal and could be key as Leeds look for another promotion charge.Euro Soccer Bonus

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