While most of the world is debating whether or not Arsenal should be considered favourites to lift the Premier League trophy, there are fans of Football League clubs that are salivating at the prospect of earning a massive transfer fee from one of their emerging talents. After all, while many clubs lower down the pyramid would ideally like to hold on to their brightest prospects, the money they tend to receive can go a long way.
Throughout history, clubs from England’s top flight have always assessed talent lower down the pyramid. Even today, Liverpool are reaping the rewards from signing Harvey Elliott from then-Championship side, Fulham. After shining in the same league, Michael Olise eventually earned his move to Crystal Palace, too. Former Huddersfield midfielder Lewis O’Brien, who was one of Town’s integral players last season, got his deserved move to Premier League new boys Nottingham Forest also. In the past, Jamie Vardy’s rise up the leagues has been an inspiration too, while West Ham’s Michail Antonio has been on a similar journey. From League Two to the Championship, there is certainly an abundance of talent in English football.
It’s worth noting that a League Two or a League One player probably wouldn’t make the immediate jump up to playing Premier League football on a weekly basis, but many clubs are dipping into these levels as they look to discover a gem for the future. Some players might be signed and then immediately loaned out, while others join a Premier League side’s development squad. While talk around the bigger clubs tends to centre around title aims and top four prospects, with the likes of Chelsea currently priced at 5/1 to qualify for the Champions League next season according to football betting markets, there are staff members at every top flight side that are assessing some of the emerging talents in the Football League. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the Football League’s brightest sparks.
Ronnie Edwards – Peterborough United
For a young defender to show the composure and the maturity that Ronnie Edwards has, especially at the age of just 19, is a rare thing. While Edwards is far from the finished article, Peterborough United will surely be expecting some offers to come their way for the former Barnet youngster. Having already played in the Championship, Edwards has solid experience under his belt. Posh chairman, Darragh MacAnthony, has tipped him to reach the top flight. He’s shining for England at youth level, too.
Ayoub Assal – AFC Wimbledon
Ayoub Assal pic.twitter.com/TmqYNK2PEu
— Ollie Mitchell (@oliver12mitch) December 20, 2022
Aged just 20, AFC Wimbledon’s Ayoub Assal is one of the most talented prospects in the lower divisions. With a number of clubs rumoured to be scouting the England youngster, the Wombles could be forced to part ways with their academy graduate sooner rather than later. Although he has a lot to learn still, Assal has been terrorising League Two defences with his direct running and tricky feet, resulting in an England Under-20 call-up and a wave of scouts coming to watch the energetic forward at Plough Lane.
Alex Scott – Bristol City
After joining the Robins from Guernsey FC at just 17 years old, Alex Scott’s rise to becoming an integral first-team member has been impossible to ignore. Now aged 19, he had a breakthrough season last campaign, playing 39 games and contributing to six goals, scoring four and assisting two. Having all the attributes a modern-day midfield player requires, Scott is progressing well in the Championship, something that wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by some of the Premier League’s major sides. Scott’s versatility also makes him a standout talent.
Other Football League stars who are destined for England’s top flight includes Isaiah Jones (Middlesbrough), Jack Currie (AFC Wimbledon), and Dan Neil (Sunderland).