After a brief look at the Premier League, I’m back with some more top-notch Championship analysis. As usual, there is a data source behind this article and the forthcoming content should be considered a more deliberate ranking than some of my articles. In order to get the discussion really going, I’ve decided to slant this one in terms of how having valuable players relates to the size of the club.
It’s an obvious point really that the biggest clubs in the league have the most valuable players – and the most money to spend. What’s interesting though is the fact some big clubs in the Championship don’t make this list – and we may only see one or two clubs on this list making the actual top six.
Huddersfield Town showed us last season that it is not always going to be the clubs with biggest budgets or most valuable players that prove to be successful. However, we often think about the Premier League and how that is divided by wealth. Therefore, I see this as very important but also debatable content.
Now we have that out of the way, let’s get into it…
1. Aston Villa (Total Market Value: £78.75m)
It doesn’t come as a massive surprise to see Aston Villa top our list as the most valuable squad in the Championship. After all, the club did spend over £70m on new players last season to get it to where it is now. This summer, transfers have been more modest and more about trying to find value from the market.
My own view is that Villa will be the league champions this season – and I’ll leave it up to you to decide if they are the biggest club in the Championship or not. The most valuable players in their squad are Neil Taylor, Scott Hogan, James Chester, Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodjia. Various things will play their part on what sort of impact those players will have this season such as injuries, form and suspensions.
Strikers Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan have certainly had their problems with injuries, but hopefully, they will both enjoy a full season. Ross McCormack’s move to the club hasn’t worked out and is a good reason to be careful of squad and player valuations. Nevertheless, it would be a big failure if the Championship’s most valuable squad wasn’t in the top six this season.
2. Middlesbrough (Total Market Value: £66.20m)
The next few clubs in this list are fairly close together in terms of the total market value of their squads, but it is Middlesbrough that are just in front. Boro are spending big in their attempts to make an instant return to the Premier League with a spend standing at just under £45m.
Regular readers of mine will know that I’m a big fan of Garry Monk and think that the club’s overall strategy will likely be successful – but it obviously is a big gamble financially. The club’s five most valuable players are Lewis Baker, Rudy Gestede, Martin Braithwaite, Adama Traore and Ben Gibson.
It’s immediately noticeable that big-money summer signings Jonny Howson and Britt Assombalonga don’t make the top five, showing that they may have over spent on those two. Overall, it’s an extremely strong squad and Monk is taking no chances on goals with the forward options he has acquired. Baker has joined on loan from Chelsea and he could prove to be one of their best signings.
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3. Wolves (Total Market Value: £66.17m)
Wolves are the ones that come next in our list and it’s not a great surprise as they are another club prepared to spend for success. Regular readers of mine will know though I do have my doubts about them – and have tipped Nuno Espirito Santo to be one of various Championship managers to be sacked before Christmas.
The club have spent over £50m on fresh players if you can count last season’s spending along with what they have done this summer. This is a big investment in Championship terms and the owners will lose interest quickly if it doesn’t get them to the Premier League. My biggest concern for them is the lack of top Championship quality or signing players that are suited to the league.
Wolves’ top five most valuable players are Romain Saiss, Ivan Cavaleiro, Diego Jota, Ruben Neves and Helder Costa. Even among those players, there have been problems this season such as Jota being suspended and Costa currently carrying any injury. The club have made a positive start to the season and it fascinating to see if they can carry that on.
4. Sunderland (Total Market Value: £63.68m)
It’s interesting that we think a lot about the players that have left Sunderland this summer such as Jermain Defoe and Jordan Pickford – and think that this is now a low valued squad. The data is quite clear though that the club still has a lot of valuable players.
The three clubs that we have profiled so far are prepared to throw money at the problem – but the situation is different at Sunderland as they look for value in the transfer market. The club’s five most valuable players are Jack Rodwell, Papy Djilobodji, Wahbi Khazri, Lamine Koné and Didier Ndong. It’s clear that they are very high-quality players that would expect to be playing in the Premier League.
It’s worth remembering though that a number of players may still leave the Black Cats before this transfer window closes at the end of the month. Of course, the club have quality – but I don’t personally see them challenging for promotion this season as I listed them as a big club that is set to struggle.
5. Hull City (Total Market Value: £55.71m)
Hull City are another one of those clubs relegated from the Premier League last season that aren’t necessarily fancied for an immediate return. Certainly, their time in the EPL had its problems and their inability to hold onto manager Marco Silva was a big blow. There have also been some high profiled departures this summer such as defenders Harry Maguire and Andrew Robertson.
They are also another club that aren’t willing to spend too much for replacements with Liverpool midfielder Kevin Stewart being their only significant purchase. It’s worth remembering though that this is still a valuable squad with a good deal of quality. The club’s top five most valuable players are Moses Odubajo, Markus Henriksen, Kamil Grosicki, Abel Hernández and Ryan Mason.
It’s certainly true that the club have their fair share of problems and Ryan Mason is still recovering from a serious injury with his return date unknown. However, Hernandez is a major asset and should be among the leading scorers in the league. It will certainly be interesting to see how this high valued squad actually does in the Championship this season.
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6. Derby County (Total Market Value: £54.99m)
Derby County have an awful lot going for them in the Championship this season including a top manager and talented players. I’m personally a big fan of what Gary Rowett has to offer and feel Derby will sizzle in the league this season.
In terms of the transfer market, it’s been a mixed bag with two big players leaving in Tom Ince and Will Hughes – but the quality additions of Tom Lawrence, Andre Wisdom, Tom Huddlestone and Curtis Davies give them a great chance.
In terms of their most valuable players, Chris Martin, Jacob Butterfield, Tom Huddlestone, Matej Vydra and Bradley Johnson make up that particular list. Martin has proved himself to be a great Championship goalscorer and we have already seen some solid stuff from Johnson this season. Vydra has got something to prove though and will be hoping for a great season. Overall, the Rams have all the qualities that great Championship teams need.
This completes the content section as we looked at the most valuable squads in the Championship. Therefore, are these the six biggest clubs in the league and will they be the top six in the league? Let us know your thoughts on what you think about our ranking.
Keep an eye on my profile page for all the latest Championship content like this. Next, I’ll be looking at the Championship clubs with the lowest average age. Of course, the season has started now and it will certainly be interesting to see how things progress over the coming weeks.