Following their relegation from the Premier League last season, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Norwich City are continuing preparations for a challenging season in the Championship.
Whilst both Newcastle and Norwich have previous experience of playing in the division, Aston Villa do not and are set to compete outside the top flight of English football for the first time since 1987.
Less lucrative life in the Championship
The financial implications of doing so are quite severe due to the Premier League’s new £5 billion TV deal for the 2016-17 season, which has created a substantial increase in prize money Premier League teams will receive.
For instance, whereas 2015/2016 champions Leicester earned £100 million, the team finishing 20th next May are guaranteed to net the same amount, which is up £34m from the £66m paid to last season’s bottom club Aston Villa.
Conversely as Championship clubs, Villa, Newcastle and Norwich are set to receive just £3m in TV money, whilst there is also the potential for them to miss out on any lucrative additional sponsorship deals tied to the 2016/2017 Premier League season, which will kick off on August 13.
Preparing a squad for the Championship Challenge
A week prior to that, the new Championship season will get underway, as the 24 clubs involved currently intensify their preparations and focus upon ensuring they have a squad of players in place who can help them enjoy a successful campaign.
In order to do so teams must handle the demands associated with regularly playing three league games in a week, which is a pressure Premier League side do not face to the same extent. As such Aston Villa, Newcastle and Norwich are each beginning to reshape their squads so as to best manage the new challenge awaiting them, club-by-club assessments of which are now provided.
As yet however, the only big name player to have departed any of the three clubs has been Nathan Redmond, who Norwich sold to Southampton for £11m. Nevertheless, the Canaries also appear resigned to losing Robbie Brady, with Leicester City reportedly ready to pay £12m for the Republic of Ireland international.
In terms of potential new recruits manager Alex Neil is understood to view Charlton’s Johann Berg Gudmundsson as a replacement for Redmond. Gudmundsson is currently starring in Iceland’s Euro 2016 campaign and will wait until that ends before deciding his club future. Also believed to be of interest to Neil are the young attacking duo of Zac Clough and Sergio Canos, along with Steven Fletcher who is a free agent after being released by Sunderland.
The Black Cats north-east neighbours Newcastle have so far signed Belgian goalkeeper Matz Sels from Gent for £4.5m and more importantly managed to retain all of their star players. Nevertheless one of those set to return to the Premier League is Andros Townsend. Specifically Crystal Palace are believed to have triggered a release clause in the talented winger’s contract by submitting a £10.5m bid for him.
Whilst Townsend’s departure would undoubtedly be a massive blow to Newcastle’s prospects of securing an immediate return to the Premier League, those would be enhanced should the Magpies be able to complete the signing of Palace’s Dwight Gayle which they are on the brink of doing according to The Guardian. Due to leave Newcastle after 13 years with the club is Steven Taylor.
Following Aston Villa’s relegation from the Premier League, the mass exodus of their highest wage earners anticipated to take place has not materialised, with only Charles N’Zogbia and Kieran Richardson departing, whilst the club have signed Bournemouth centre half Tommy Elphick for £3m. That was new manager Roberto Di Matteo’s first signing, with more being expected to follow.
Among Villa’s transfer targets are understood to be West Bromwich Albion’s veteran striker Rickie Lambert and 18-year-old Sochaux defender Jerome Onguene, who is also attracting interest from Crystal Palace. On the verge of leaving Villa Park according to the Birmingham Mail are Jose Angel Crespo and Idrissa Gana.
As such, whilst the trio of clubs relegated from the Premier League last season still have much work to do ahead of the new Championship campaign in terms of finalising their squads, they are each stepping up their efforts to do that.