The best transfer business among Sheffield United's Championship rivals so far, including West Brom, Bournemouth and Birmingham City

While Sheffield United have been slow off the mark in the transfer market, some of their Championship rivals have wasted no time in bolstering their squads.

By Steve Jones
Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 3:33 pm

Several teams expected to challenge the Blades for promotion to the Premier League have already made some eye-catching additions ahead of the start of the season on 7 August.

New Sheffield United boss – and two-time Championship promotion-winner – Slavisa Jokanovic has confirmed the club are moving closer to strengthening the squad, with the possibility some players could also depart before deadline day on 31 August.

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Slavisa Jokanovic, the new manager of Sheffield United.

With so many ex-Premier League clubs, the second tier is expected to be as competitive as ever next season and Sheffield United have made no secret of their ambition to be fighting at the top end of the table.

The Blades are third favourites for promotion – but here are five eye-catching deals among the sides who could challenge them as well as the division’s potential surprise packages.

Alex Mowatt – Barnsley to West Brom

The former Tykes captain has joined Valerien Ismael at the Baggies, signing a three-year deal after his contract expired this summer.

The 26-year-old scored eight goals in 52 appearances last season as Barnsley made the play-offs. Impressively, he was also voted Players’ Player of the Season for the third consecutive season.

Emiliano Marcondes - Brentford to Bournemouth

The Dane played 40 times for Brentford last season and scored in their play-off final win over Swansea City to seal promotion to the Premier League. Cherries chief executive Neill Blake described the deal as a “huge coup” for the club and claimed they beat off stiff competition for his signature.

An attacking midfielder, the 26-year-old felt playing deeper in west London didn’t get the best out of him. Expect more goals and assists moving forward, then.

Joel Piroe – PSV to Swansea City

We couldn’t put this list together without including a striker. And while there haven’t been too many deals for forward players so far, Swansea’s swoop for 21-year-old Dutchman Piroe could prove a smart bit of business.

Rather than filing this one under proven marksman, the Netherlands youth international falls into the youngster with potential category, but if anyone can get the best out of him in the Championship it’s Steve Cooper.

Piroe netted twice in the Europa League last season and could help replace the attacking contributions of Andre Ayew, who has moved on.

Ryan Woods – Stoke City to Birmingham City

The diminutive midfielder was tipped for the Premier League before he signed for Stoke from Brentford in 2019 but his career stalled following the seven-figure transfer.

He spent last season on loan at Millwall and was a near ever-present under Gary Rowett as he rediscovered the sort of form he previously produced for the Bees.

Tahith Chong – Manchester United to Birmingham City

Yes, Birmingham again. Watch out for the Blues next season, who have been active in the transfer market so far.

Dutch winger Tahith Chong was their sixth summer signing and the Netherlands Under-21 international has already made 16 first-team appearances for the Red Devils since making his debut in 2019.

He’s also enjoyed loan spells in the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen and in Belgium’s top flight with Club Brugge.

Jesse Lingard had a brilliant spell with Birmingham a few years ago which propelled him into the first team at Old Trafford. Chong could follow in his teammates footsteps while in the West Midlands.