Sessegnon, Traore & the Championship players who could move to the Premier League

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With top-flight clubs gearing up for another summer of spending, casting their net into the second tier could scoop up a few gems

Dozens of players have made the step up from the lower league in recent years to make a huge impact on the Premier League. Chris Wood, Alex Pritchard and Jeff Hendrick have all been impressive for their respective clubs this season after being signed from the Championship in the past few years. Who will be the next player to make the step up? Here are a few candidates

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    Tom Cairney | Fulham

    Cairney has been linked to West Ham United and Newcastle in the past two transfer windows and for good reason.

    The Fulham captain is one of the best midfielders in the Championship and it is no coincidence that Slavisa Jokanovic's side went on a 23-game unbeaten streak after he returned to full fitness.

    Cairney would be capable of playing for any mid-table Premier League club due to his exceptional vision and dribbling abilities. He can also strike from range if needed as showcased by his goals against Wolves and Leeds United last season.

    If Fulham don’t secure promotion via the play-offs don’t be surprised to see Cairney on the move this summer.

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    Aden Flint | Bristol City

    Aden Flint has been on a lot of clubs’ radars since his Swindon Town days.

    Standing at 6ft 5ins, the defender is a dominant figure in the air and he regularly features prominently on the scoring charts come the end of each season, hitting a career-high 15 in 2014-15 at Swindon.

    Flint has been fantastic for Bristol City this season, particularly standing out in both legs of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

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    Abel Hernandez | Hull City

    Abel Hernandez is a Premier League player stuck in the Championship.

    The Uruguayan has missed most of this season through injury as Hull slipped down the table to flirt with relegation.

    Hernandez scored eight goals in 10 Championship appearances this season and would be an asset to any Premier League side in need of a goalscorer.

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    Adama Traore | Middlesbrough

    The former Barcelona winger is unstoppable when he is playing at his best.

    Watch the highlights of his performance against Leeds United this season and you will see the Spaniard at the peak of his powers.

    Traore has all the physical attributes that you would want from a winger, he is one of the fastest players in football and he runs with such power. If a coach could fine-tune Traore and improve his final ball he could be one of the most dangerous wingers in the Premier League.

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    David Brooks | Sheffield United

    David Brooks was one of the key reasons Sheffield United were flying so high at the beginning of the season.

    The 20-year-old Wales international missed much of the season with injury but, whenever he has been on the pitch, he has given the Blades an extra dimension with his pace and dribbling skills.

    Brooks’s performance in the Steel City derby made a lot of Premier League clubs take notice, with Spurs enquiring in January but unwilling to pay the reported £20 million asking price.

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    Stefan Johansen | Fulham

    Fulham’s midfield is arguably the best in the Championship and Stefan Johansen is the reason why.

    Johansen can do it all on the pitch and keep it up for 90 minutes. The Norway captain doesn’t stop running throughout every game he plays.

    Johansen scores a lot of goals as well, finishing as Fulham’s second top scorer in the league last season with 11 goals and notching eight goals this campaign as well.

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    Ryan Woods | Brentford

    Ryan Woods has been a tremendously strong performer in the Championship and is worth a punt for any bottom-half Premier League team.

    Woods’s passing is top quality and his stats do not tell the full story of how good he actually is.

    Officially, the Brentford midfielder has only a few assists this season, with most of Woods’ passes going out wide to Sergi Canos, Florian Josefzoon or Ollie Watkins, who then feed the main strikers, but the stats do not reflect his importance to the team.

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    Alex Smithies | QPR

    Alex Smithies is a top-class goalkeeper for QPR who has slipped under the radar of many football fans.

    Smithies is the Championship’s answer to Tom Heaton and, while he doesn’t keep many clean sheets, he is a consistent performer.

    Both of his performances against Fulham last season stand out when he saved three penalties spread across the two games to secure a victory and a draw for QPR.

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    James Maddison | Norwich

    Maddison has enjoyed a breakout season at Norwich, netting 14 goals this campaign from midfield.

    His long-range shooting and playmaking abilities have made him a joy to watch. The 21-year-old was linked with a move to West Ham United in January but Norwich’s asking price was never met after a bid of £12 million was received.

    Norwich have under-performed this season, however, Maddison has been one of the best players in the league and it would be no surprise to see the England Under 21 international on the move.

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    Ryan Fredericks | Fulham

    Ryan Fredericks is a superb modern right-back. He is better going forward than he is in defence, however, he has bailed Fulham out countless times as he has the pace to get back and stop any counter-attack.

    Fredericks has been linked to West Ham in recent months and is out of contract at the end of the season. He would be a great acquisition for any Premier League team on a free transfer.

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    Britt Assombalonga | Middlesbrough

    Assombalonga has scored 15 Championship goals in 44 appearances for Middlesbrough this season and, when the Congolese is at his best, he is worthy of being a striker for a Premier League team.

    He has hit 45 goals in 108 Championship appearances and, when he was at Nottingham Forest, he was a brilliant finisher able to use his pace and his strength to bully defenders and work his way into goal-scoring positions.

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    Ryan Sessegnon | Fulham

    Sessegnon completed a clean sweep of the EFL awards in April by winning Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Apprentice of the Year.

    At just 17 years old the question isn’t whether Sessegnon will play in the Premier League, it’s when he will play in the Premier League.

    It would likely take a bid in excess of £40 million to prise the winger from Fulham after they turned down a bid of £35m last summer from Tottenham even before this outstanding season.

    Sessegnon has scored 15 in the Championship in the league this year, including a hat-trick for the Whites against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane back in November.

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    Matej Vydra | Derby County

    The Championship’s top scorer has been back to his best form this season after a quiet couple of years at Reading and a poor first season at Derby County.

    The Czech striker has bagged 21 goals this season and is a clinical finisher who would be a handy acquisition for any struggling Premier League side.

    A team like Southampton could be a perfect destination for Vydra as the Saints are struggling for goals and he could reignite their attack.

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    Joe Bryan | Bristol City

    Joe Bryan has been impressive at left-back for Bristol City this season. His absence has been noticeable every time he doesn't line up for the Robins.

    Bryan showcased his talents on the biggest stage in the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Manchester United when he delivered a man-of-the-match display and scored a stunning goal.

    With the dearth of quality left-backs in the Premier League, Bryan may be a target for many of the bottom-half clubs.

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    Matt Smith | QPR

    Matt Smith is arguably the Championship’s answer to Peter Crouch and, given the former England international’s age, it could be that the QPR striker is the answer for any club looking for a big man up front.

    He has hit 11 goals in the Championship this season and, while he isn't prolific, his skills lie in his physical abilities rather than his technical attributes.

    Smith would be a handful no matter what division he was playing in and he has put in some of his best career performances against top opposition with goals against Everton and Liverpool kickstarting his career at Oldham Athletic.