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Five to watch in the Championship

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Guest post by Rory Matloob

Which players and managers from the Championship should the Hammers look to
snap up next season?

Central attacking midfielder: Sammie Szmodics

The midfielders form this season has been off the charts, back in the summer of
2022 Szmodics signed for Blackburn for an undisclosed fee. The 2022/23 season
was an adjustment season for the Irishmen as he was only able to register seven
goals and five assists in forty-three appearances.

Hammers fan Sammie Szmodics

This season he’s really took the reigns as being Blackburn’s star man with a
staggering thirty-one goals and four assists in forty-six appearances this season.
Szmodics’ goals have most certainly kept Blackburn above the relegation zone,
however there is still some work to do as Blackburn sit three points above the drop
zone with two games remaining.

With Lucas Paqueta rumoured to be joining Manchester City this summer, this would
be a great replacement. Szmodics won’t bring as much creativity as the Brazilian,
but he will bring goals to the table.

Left Winger: Crysencio Summerville

Just like Szmodics, Summerville has been his team’s most vital player this
campaign. The Dutchmen can’t afford to be playing another season of Championship
football, he’s shown that this season with twenty-five goal involvements in forty
appearances this championship campaign.

With Benrahma on loan at Lyon, it looks likely he will leave this summer, Fornals
already packed his bags for Betis this January and Cornet has struggled to make an
impact since signing from Burnley. A left winger is a must signing for us this summer
window.
A difficult factor with signing Summerville is the price, if Leeds get promoted, they
won’t want to sell their biggest asset, but if they do it may cost us up to £55 million
for his signature.

Right Back: Kyle-Walker Peters

The Southampton right-back has been a joy to watch this year under Russel Martin.
With Premier League experience already, having made one hundred and fifteen
appearances in the division there will be no need for any adjustment period for the
English right back.

Coufal has been an excellent signing for the club, but he also needs somebody
challenging him for his place and Walker Peters is just the man for that job. With
Southampton not in the automatic places to be promoted they may not be playing
Premier League football next year, someone of his ability should be playing in the
Premiership week in week out.

Managers:

Russel Martin- Southampton manager

Russel Martin has been managing in the Championship since 2021 and now it’s time
he takes that step up to show everyone what he can do at the highest level. His work
at Swansea was a learning curve for the coach as he finished 15 th in 2022 and then
10 th in 2023.

Eyebrows would have been raised after the start Southampton got off to this season,
in September they lost four games on the bounce, and it looked to be a miserable
season for the Saints.

Martin and his players put that rough patch of form behind them as they then went
on a twenty-two-game unbeaten streak in the Championship, the longest in the
history of the division.

His possession-based style of play has suffocated most teams this season, with
eighty-five goals scored across 43 Championship matches (joint most in the division
with Ipswich) there’s no denying his team get you off your seat.

Kieran Mckenna:

Kieran Mckenna was a part of Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s backroom
staff, however in 2021 he looked to progress on and become a manager. In
December 2021 Mckenna was presented with that opportunity as Ipswich came
calling.

His transformation of Ipswich has been sensational, when he was appointed, Ipswich
were sat in 12 th position in League one. Two and a half years later they are sat
second in the Championship and could pip either Leeds or Leicester to the title.
Something Mckenna is known for is his development of young players, at
Manchester United he worked with James Garner and Angel Gomes who have both
had solid starts to their careers. This year he has worked with Chelsea’s Omari
Hutchinson and Brighton’s Jeremy Sarmiento where he has got the best out of both
young stars.

Since Declan Rice and Ben Johnson, we haven’t really seen anyone break through
from the academy, could Mckenna be the one who starts brining academy prospects
through to the first team?

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Hammers Chat video blogger @Gonzobignose