Npower Championship Transfer Round-Up

With play-off finalists Cardiff under a transfer embargo, Crystal Palace and Portsmouth having both suffered points deductions as a result of administration and Hull desperately trying to stave off that threat, pre-season multi-million pound transfers have been few and far between. Even so, the summer months have seen a number of shrewd acquisitions, with cheaper experienced players predominating for the majority of Championship clubs.

Middlesbrough, the unanimous favourites for the title, have both spent the most and recruited the most recognizable players. In Kris Boyd, Gordon Strachan has recruited the all-time leading scorer in the SPL. The 26-year-old Scotsman reportedly spurned advances from Premier League teams and mega-money offers from Turkish sides to sign for the Teesside club on a free. He will link up with fellow new-signings; Kevin Thomson, Stephen McManus and Nicky Bailey as Middlesbrough aim to live up to the tags of favourites and regain their Premier League place. Against the backdrop of financial tumult currently haunting English football, well run teams are a rare commodity. Burnley may have lost their top-flight status, but they return to the Championship in a very stable state financially. While they have lost two of their prize assets in Fletcher and Blake, the signings of Lee Grant, Ross Wallace, Chris Iwelumo and Dean Marney have been astute and the Lancashire club will be confident of mounting a title challenge.

Last year’s play-off contenders have been more focussed on keeping their already solid squads together than with the addition of new players. Although Nottingham Forest have lost James Perch, and Joe Ledley has left Cardiff, the core of the Leicester, Cardiff and Nottingham Forest sides are still very much in place. Nottingham Forest’s permanent signing of stand-out loan star Radoslaw Majewski is the only significant purchase at this stage. Sheffield United will look to build on a mid-table finish with the signing of Daniel Bogdanovic from local rivals Barnsley and Blades fans will be hoping he finds the goals outgoing striker Billy Sharp was never able to at Bramall Lane. Sharp will now ply his trade at ambitious Doncaster Rovers. Donny smashed their transfer record in bringing the former Scunthorpe hitman to the Keepmoat Stadium after he impressed on loan last season.

QPR have strengthened their backline by snapping up Bradley Orr from Bristol City. City have been busy themselves, with the signings of Nicky Hunt and Damion Stewart supplementing their marquee player of the summer, England goalkeeper David James, who has joined on a free transfer from Portsmouth. Free transfers have been the way of things for Simon Grayson’s Leeds, five of their seven summer signings have been secured without charge. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, left-back Federico Bessone and striker Billy Paynter make up the most notable budget acquisitions. Fellow promoted side Norwich have, in contrast, splashed the cash as they aim to re-establish themselves in the Championship. John Ruddy, Simeon Jackson and Andrew Surman have all been recruited to this end.

Elsewhere, combatant midfielder Lee Carsley and winger Gary McSheffrey have both made the short journey from Birmingham to Coventry to sign for the Sky Blues on a free, while relegated Hull have begun the rebuilding process with the capture of James Harper and Nolberto Solano. Barnsley, one of the pre-season relegation favourites have signed Jason Shackell from Wolves, while Watford and Scunthorpe appear to be in for difficult seasons, the latter now having lost star striker Gary Hooper to Celtic.

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