In England, lots of tabloid press in January goes toward players in the Premier League, but in the leagues below, January is a chance to sign that player who will get you promoted, save you from relegation, or even make you a nice bit of cash in a few years time. Up and Down the English football pyramid, teams are linked with that player who can save a season, from league 2 relegation to Championship promotion chasers.

Championship:

In the Championship, possibly the most exciting league to watch as a neutral, teams look for ;the player who can not only shine in the Championship, but make a difference in the Premier League, should the side get promoted.

At the top, Norwich, Swansea and Watford are always up there, and all three have been linked to some great players. The Championship offers a chance for young premier league players to get first team minutes in a competitive league, and as such is a great option for a youngster to make a name for himself. Anthony Gordon has been linked to a range of clubs, and looks like he could be the difference maker in decisive games. If a second tier side can secure his services, even on loan, they will surely improve their league position.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: Anthony Gordon of Everton leaps to control the ball during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Everton at Bramall Lane on December 26, 2020 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

At the bottom of the league, Wycombe have looked poor all season following last years play-off victory, but the side has a large group of third tier quality players, so if the wanderers want to stand a chance of staying up, the key will be a consistent defender, as they don’t have problems scoring goals. That being said, nobody wants to join a side that looks nailed on for relegation, especially not a defender.

League 1:

The third tier’s race for promotion is incredible this season, with about 7 teams chasing promotion, or at the very least a play-off spot. Sunderlands season has improved ten-fold since the appointment of Lee Johnson, and will be looking for a dangerous winger, who can beat his man and whip in a cross to the man in form Charlie Wyke. That looks to be Jordan Jones from Rangers, as the winger hasn’t played a minute for Steven Gerrards side yet this season.

MOTHERWELL, SCOTLAND – SEPTEMBER 27: Jordan Jones of Rangers in action during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Motherwell and Rangers at Fir Park on September 27, 2020 in Motherwell, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Across the rest of the league, the over performing Lincoln will be looking for back up, but there aren’t many more exciting rumours across the league. In the relegation scrap, seven teams could be at risk, and all these sides need a dangerous striker capable of scoring the goals to keep them up. Ryan Bowman from Exeter looks like a great striker who could score at this level, and Burton have already made a bid for the Englishman.

EXETER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 23: Ryan Bowman of Exeter City chases down the ball during the Sky Bet League Two match between Exeter City and Stevenage at St James Park on January 23, 2021 in Exeter, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

League 2:

In league 2, we sometimes see some great talent emerge, such as Ollie Watkins, who now tears it up for a high flying Aston Villa. However, the coronavirus pandemic has hit League 2 clubs hard, and that will put a limit on risks that teams can take. I wouldn’t expect a league 2 side to go out and sign someone from outside of England or Scotland, and I would expect them to have to be proven at this level for a team to part with cash for them.

Perhaps the most exciting piece of business right now is Cheltenhams signing of readings Sam Smith on loan to help the Robins push for promotion. At only 22 years old, he will be aiming to make a name for himself in the fourth tier, and is a reason for Cheltenham fans to get excited this January.

READING, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 31: John Swift of Reading (r) celebrates with Sam Smith (l) after scoring the opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Nottingham Forest at Madejski Stadium on October 31, 2017 in Reading, England. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

Have your side been linked to anyone exciting? Make sure to let us know in the comments or on our Twitter!

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Sam Hutchison

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