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Five EFL players ready for a Premier League switch
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Matthew Hill
Jobe Bellingham looks poised to follow his brother Jude to the top level
Jobe Bellingham looks poised to follow his brother Jude to the top level

Premier League clubs frequently look abroad for their new recruits — but sometimes the best options are a little closer to home.

We take a look at five EFL stars who may be capturing the attention of top-flight sides during the January window.

Jobe Bellingham (Sunderland)

Forging your own footballing reputation cannot be easy when your brother is Jude Bellingham but 18-year-old Jobe is managing to do just that.

Rising through the ranks at local club Birmingham just like his older sibling, a summer move to Sunderland has seen the youngster shine as a key cog in the Black Cats' youthful attacking unit.

Bellingham started out as a striker but now believes his best position to be as a box-to-box midfielder, where he has become a virtual ever-present at the Stadium of Light this term.

The similarities with Jude are plain to see and it would be no surprise to see Premier League sides chasing the England youth international this month. 

Morgan Whittaker (Plymouth)

Plymouth did not hesitate in smashing their transfer record to sign Morgan Whittaker from Swansea and it is easy to see why.

The 22-year-old forward spent the first half of last season on loan at Argyle, setting them on course to the League One title, before returning to Home Park permanently for £1million in July.

Whittaker did not light up the Championship in Wales but is certainly doing so in Devon, notching 13 goals and five assists in his first 26 second-tier outings for the Pilgrims.

Capable of playing No10, wide or as a central striker, the ex-Derby prospect is an outstanding dribbler who would add a direct approach to any struggling Premier League outfit.

Hayden Hackney (Middlesbrough)

Scouts aplenty have been visiting the Riverside Stadium to catch a glimpse of Middlesbrough starlet Hayden Hackney.

Holding midfielder Hackney, 21, has already made 61 senior appearances for Boro and has also established himself as a regular in the England Under-21s ranks.

A mature and technically-gifted operator capable of dictating the tempo, Tottenham and Liverpool are reportedly plotting summer bids for the Redcar-born ace.

Nottingham Forest hope to pip their more prestigious rivals with a January swoop, though a groin injury that has sidelined Hackney since November may put the breaks on a mid-season switch.

Sam Tickle (Wigan)

Wigan goalkeeper Sam Tickle looks set for a bright future
Wigan goalkeeper Sam Tickle looks set for a bright future

There has not been much to cheer about for 2013 FA Cup winners Wigan recently with the Latics currently languishing at the bottom end of League One. 

However, the emergence of academy goalkeeper Sam Tickle this term has been a feel-good story that will undoubtedly have caught Premier League clubs' attention.

Tickle, 21, was handed his chance late in last season's Championship relegation campaign, with boss Shaun Maloney quickly convinced to hand him the No1 shirt for 2023-24.

No stopper has made more saves than Tickle in the third tier this season and his equally impressive distribution meant his recent England U-21s call up came as no surprise.

Ronnie Edwards (Peterborough)

A centre-back destined for the top, Peterborough are demanding a bumper fee to release their marquee talent Ronnie Edwards.

Picked up by Posh from Barnet after making just two senior appearances for the Bees, the Essex-born starlet has made over 100 EFL appearances at the tender age of 20.

Quick, strong, clever and composed, he is the model modern defender and Premier League side Crystal Palace have seen numerous seven-figure bids knocked back over the last six months.

The League One outfit want £10million and though that may seem excessive for a third-tier player, Edwards' trajectory means it could quickly prove a bargain.


Premier LeagueChampionshipLeague OneSunderlandPlymouthMiddlesbroughWiganPeterborough United
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