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EFL Championship

Sheffield United would bag a massive coup by signing this 10-goal hitman to boost attacking depth – Agreed?

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Sheffield United Opinion: Why the Blades should sign Ernesto Torregrossa?

Sheffield United have been one of the most exciting teams in the Championship this season and they kept the pressure on their promotion rivals with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Brentford at Bramall Lane on Tuesday.

The Blades are in scintillating form at the moment and are unbeaten in their last nine matches. After the win over Brentford, Chis Wilder and co. will head to Leeds United at the weekend in a crucial six-pointer between the two promotion rivals.

Wilder and his players will no doubt know the importance of the game at Elland Road and given the form they are in, the Yorkshire outfit will certainly look to take the match to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds.

One of Sheffield United’s most influential players in their chase for promotion has been their skipper, Billy Sharp. Sharp, 33, is Blades’ top-scorer with 22 goals and has impressed with his hold-up play and leadership skills.

And the promotion bid must mean the most to Sharp, who has entered the final stages of his career. This season, the striker has shown he can be relied upon for goals but despite hitting over 20 goals, doubts remain over his quality to reproduce the goods in the potential 2019/20 Premier League campaign.

That said, it’s important Wilder strengthens his attacking options over the summer. To put things straight, Sheffield United should make a move for Brescia striker Ernesto Torregrossa.

A youth product of Hellas Verona’s system, Ernesto Torregrossa, 26, has spent his entire career in Italy so far. The 26-year-old currently plies his trade for Brescia in Serie B and has enjoyed a solid season so far, netting 10 goals and providing seven assists across all competitions.

Standing just a shade above 6ft. 1in, Torregrossa is a target-man who excels in hold-up play and movement inside the box. The Italian is a real handful for the defenders due to his physical attributes but he isn’t just a one-trick pony. He can make intelligent runs behind the defenders and finish off a move as well as create chances for his teammates.

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Blessed with a peach of a left foot, Torregrossa keeps the ability to score from long distance as well. That combined with his work-rate and defensive contributions further add to his value, making any move a mouth-watering prospect to consider.

Verdict

The 26-year-old’s strength and ability on the ball will help make the transition from the Serie B to the Premier League easier. Hence, Sheffield United must not hesitate to splash the cash and take a gamble on Torregrossa.

EFL Championship

Norwich signing this experienced Sheffield Wednesday star would help them deal PL with ease – opinion

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Norwich City opinion: Canaries should sign Jordan Rhodes permanently

According to the Sun, Norwich City are keen on securing the services of Sheffield Wednesdaystriker Jordan Rhodes permanently, as the Canaries look to build a strong enough squad to survive in the Premier League.

The 29-year-old Scottish international spent the last season on loan at Carrow Road from Hillsborough and played a bit-part role in the Championship, as Daniel Farke’s side secured automatic promotion to the top-flight as the winners of the second-tier.

The Sun understands that Sheffield Wednesday might be prepared to let Rhodes depart permanently on the cheap and Norwich are keen to have him in their squad as an important squad player.

Rhodes chipped in with 6 goals and an assist in Norwich’s promotion-winning campaign in the Championship this past season, returns which are quite good given that he started only 9 games.

The 29-year-old played as many as 27 cameos from the bench in the league, with Teemu Pukki’s prolific form up front keeping him out of the first-team. Those returns look quite meagre on paper, but in all honesty, he did what was asked of him and played the role of an understudy to perfection.

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The Owls might be open to parting ways with Rhodes given that his time at Hillsborough has not at all been a fruitful one.

Signed from Middlesbrough for a club-record £10million back in the summer of 2017 following a successful loan spell, the Scotsman flattered to deceive and never really lived up to his billing as a prolific frontman.

He was deemed surplus to demands after netting just 5 times in the Championship in the 2017-18 season, so it probably won’t be a bad idea for the Owls to finally cut their losses on him, with Norwich keen on making his loan move permanent.

Rhodes hasn’t been at his best over the last two or three seasons after having carved out a reputation for himself as one of the most lethal strikers in the Championship earlier in his career.

He doesn’t have much experience of playing in the top-flight but his record in the second-tier is certainly awe-inspiring, having racked up a staggering 105 goals and 21 assists in 274 appearances for the likes of Norwich City, Middlesbrough, Balckburn Rovers, Ipswich Town and Huddersfield Town.

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To put things into perspective, few would have expected Jordan Rhodes to be on Daniel Farke’s shop list after the Canaries secured promotion to the Premier League.

However, it has to be said that the 29-year-old won’t be a bad signing for Norwich, and with a wealth of Football League experience under his belt, he might go on to make some kind of contribution in the top-flight next season.

Rhodes certainly won’t dislodge Pukki in the pecking order after the Finnish international’s goalscoring heroics in the Championship this past season but he might prove to be a key squad player.

The 29-year-old still has the killer instincts of an out-and-out centre-forward and he can certainly bring a lot to the team with his smart hold-up play, supreme aerial ability, physicality and clinical finishing, meaning that Farke should look at him as someone who could possibly operate as the focal point of the attack.

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Rhodes won’t be the only addition to Norwich’s attack this summer and they would probably bring in a few more players to add adequate depth to their ranks.

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Conclusion

Rhodes is a very hard working forward who always shows plenty of commitment on the pitch and runs the channels to cut the passing lanes at the back.

Despite his lack of top-flight experience, the Canaries can do themselves a world of good by getting him on board permanently ahead of the upcoming season, particularly with the 29-year-old likely to be available on the cheap.

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EFL Championship

Nottingham Forest beating off competition to land this League One star would make them solid at the back next season

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Nottingham Forest opinion: Forest should snap up Tom Lockyer for free

According to Nottinghamshire Live, Nottingham Forestare interested in signing Bristol Rovers’ out-of-contract centre-back Tom Lockyer in the summer transfer window.

Lockyer made 40 appearances for Bristol Rovers in League One this season and was an ever-present figure at the back for the club, as Graham Coughlan’s side finished 15th in the standings.

Nottinghamshire Liveunderstands that the 24-year-old, whose contract at the Memorial Stadium is set to expire, is keen to test his credentials higher up the footballing pyramid.

The same source claims that the Welsh international has offers on the table from as many as four Championship clubs who are confident that the centre-back is good enough to make the step up to the second division.

The ex-Cardiff City youth product joined Bristol Rovers back in 2011 and has been a part of the club’s journey for the last seven seasons. He started off in League Two, got relegated to the Conference Premier and then helped his club secure back-to-back promotions.

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Lockyer has made a total of 284 appearances for Bristol Rovers in all competitions but it looks like his time at the Memorial Stadium is coming to an end.

Lockyer’s consistently impressive performances in League One caught the eye of former Wales boss Chris Coleman, who handed the defender his senior international debut in 2017. Prior to that, Lockyer had represented Wales at the U-21 level as well.

To put things into perspective, Nottingham Forest are not crying out for a centre-back at the moment and there are other areas of the squad which are in need of improvement but they can certainly do with another experienced head in their defensive department.

Forest finished 9th in the Championship this season, 8 points adrift of Derby County for the final playoff spot, but they looked pretty stable at the back for large chunks of the campaign.

They conceded 53 goals in the league this season, which is certainly not bad by any means, given that the likes of West Brom and Aston Villa, who made it to the playoffs, shipped more goals.

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Forest finished the season on a high with three back-to-back victories over Middlesbrough, QPR and Bolton but they lost three consecutive games prior to that.

Their defence looked a tad shaky in the defeats against Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers, which might just prompt manager Martin O’Neill to strengthen his defensive ranks ahead of the upcoming season.

Joe Worrall is likely to be available for selection next season after enjoying a fruitful loan spell with Rangers, while Jack Robinson, who was rotated between left-back and centre-back this term, is also expected to be at the City Ground.

However, the futures of loanees Youane Benalouane and Molla Wague remain up in the air and it remains to be seen whether Forest end up striking permanent deals for either of them.

With the likes of Alexander Milosevic and Michael Dawson in their ranks, Forest have adequate cover at centre-back but signing Tom Lockyer on a free transfer shouldn’t do them much harm. Moreover, Dawson is already 35 and he is very much nearing the twilight of his career.

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Lockyer has honed his skills as a defensive leader for Bristol Rovers in League One, and with a bagful of Football League experience under his belt, one would expect him to adjust to the Championship pretty easily.

The Welshman is more of an old-school centre-back who likes to use his physical attributes to keep the opposition at bay, while also possessing wonderful aerial ability and above-average game-reading skills.

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Conclusion

Lockyer is a full international for Wales and Forest need to take that into consideration.

All in all, the 24-year-old could prove to be a good long-term investment for the club and he certainly deserves a chance to showcase his skills in the Championship after excelling for such a long time in the lower divisions of English football.

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Bristol City

Leeds reviving their interest in this 23-year-old and signing him for £6m would be an absolute coup by Bielsa

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Leeds United opinion: Whites should revive interest in Callum O’Dowda

Leeds Unitedhave been handed a massive boost in their pursuit of Bristol City winger Callum O’Dowda ahead of the summer transfer window, with the Times reporting that the 23-year-old Irishman wants a fresh start.

The Times understands that O’Dowda is unlikely to sign a new contract after being frozen out of the first-team at Ashton Gate in the latter stages of the campaign.

The winger hasn’t featured for Bristol City since early March despite having regained fitness from an injury and a number of Championship and Premier League clubs are keen to lure him away from the Robins.

O’Dowda is believed to be unhappy with the kind of treatment he has been given since his refusal to put pen to paper on a new deal and Leeds United might have something to look forward to in their pursuit of the highly-rated 23-year-old.

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Back in January, Sky Sports linked the Republic of Ireland international with a move to Elland Road, with manager Marcelo Bielsa interested in securing the services of the versatile winger.

A move failed to materialize despite the player’s contract stand-off with his current club but O’Dowda looks sure to head for the exit door this time around.

The Times understands that Bristol City would be looking to sell Callum O’ Dowda for a fee of around £6million rather than risk losing him for free in a year’s time. The Whites are likely to change their stance in the transfer market after missing out on promotion to the Premier League.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side looked all set for a return to the top-flight for the first time in 15 years but a poor run of form over the Easter period followed by a dramatic 4-2 defeat against Derby Countyin the second leg of the playoff semi-finals ensured that the Yorkshire giants stayed in the Championship for yet another season.

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As things stand, the best thing that the Whites can do is put all the disappointment behind them and start right from scratch once again next season, although it’s much easier said than done.

To put things into perspective, Leeds should be looking at some quality wide players in the summer transfer window to add more depth to their options down the flanks.

Man City loanee Jack Harrison is likely to return to his parent club, meaning that Bielsa would have the likes of Jack Clarke, Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernandez as options out wide next season. And that is exactly why someone like Callum O’Dowda can add a lot of value to Leeds’s ranks this summer.

Jack Clarke enjoyed his breakthrough at Elland Road this past season and Leeds should be looking to use him a lot more next term but O’Dowda is a more established player and his playing style should suit Bielsa’s philosophy.

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The Argentinian likes his wingers to run with drive, determination and directness to attack the opposition’s full-backs and the Irishman has all those attributes in abundance.

While essentially a left-sided player, O’Dowda is capable of playing on either side of the pitch and also in a central attacking role behind the striker.

His versatility should make him an exciting proposition for Leeds and the 23-year-old’s flair and trickery is likely to add that cutting edge to the team’s attack.

He racked up 4 goals and 4 assists from just 20 starts for Bristol City this season, which is enough evidence of his goalscoring and playmaking abilities as a wide player.

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Conclusion

Still only 23, O’Dowda has plenty of time to make significant improvements to his game and working under an experienced manager like Bielsa should do a world of good for his development.

To Read More Leeds United News, Click Here:- Latest Leeds United News

That said, the Whites should make a renewed attempt to sign the Irishman this summer and they could possibly have a gem on their hands in the years to come should he go on to fulfil his potential.

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