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SCOUTING REPORT: The 5 Championship whizkids wanted by Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal

Recently we took a close look at the five players from League One who we believe could be playing in the Premier League soon.

This time, we turn our attention to a quintet of Championship stars who may well be taking the next step to England's top flight.

Below is a list of five Championship hopefuls who tribalfootball.com believe could be on the radar of Premier League teams ahead of the summer transfer window.

Top 5 Championship prospects

Karl Darlow - Nottingham ForestGoalkeeper

23-year old goalkeeper Karl Darlow comes so highly rated that he has been linked with a possible move to Chelsea.

The Northampton-born gloveman has been with Forest since he was 16 after joining the Championship clubs youth academy from Aston Villa in 2006 and is now the undisputed number one at the City Ground.

Darlow made his Forest debut on the final day of the 2010/11 season and has since gone on to play for the Nottinghamshire club no less than 67 times in all competitions, including 43 starts this campaign.

The talented custodian has spent time on loan with Newport County and Walsall since 2012 which has helped groom him into the assured shot-stopper he is today, prompting interest from the Blues, as well as Tottenham and Liverpool.

His 12 clean sheets in England's second tier have helped Forest to eighth spot on the table this season, just outside the playoff spots, and the club will be hoping they can give a good account in their promotion push if they are to keep hold of the in-demand Darlow.

Darlow, who is eligible to represent Wales, is poised to take the next step in his career but Forest fans will have their fingers crossed that incoming manager Stuart Pearce keeps him around at the City Ground for a little while longer.

Jordan Obita - ReadingMidfielder

The 20-year old Oxford-born midfielder has emerged as a key player for Reading in this, his breakout season, in English football.

Jordan Obita has been tipped to win the Royals' Player of the Year award for his ever-improving performances on the left side of midfield which have helped the Berkshire club into a promotion playoffs spot.

Obita initially trialled with hometown club Oxford before joining Reading's academy as an eight-year old and he has gone on to bigger and better things each and every season since joining the Royals senior ranks.

The winger has had loan stints with Barnet, Gillingham, Portsmouth and Oldham Athletic and was also nominated for the 2011/12 Football League Championship Apprentice of the Year but was beaten to the gong by Newcastle United's Gael Bigirimana who was with Coventry City at the time.

Nigel Adkins has placed plenty of responsibility on Obita this term, starting him 30 times, and his output only continues to increase with the more game time he receives.

If his 2013/14 campaign is anything to go by, it won't be too long before we are seeing Obita strut his stuff on English football's big stage, whether it be in blue and white hoops or in different top flight colours.

Jordan Cousins - Charlton AthleticDefender/Midfielder

The versatile Jordan Cousins has been a regular starter for Charlton Athletic throughout the 2013/14 Championship season.

The 20-year old, who is just as comfortable in defence as he is in central midfield, has appeared in 39 league matches for the Addicks in what has been a relegation-threatened campaign.

Born in the London borough of Greenwich, Cousins laid his roots at The Valley as a 12-year old in 2006 and has made no secret of his desire to remain in England's capital by hinting at a future dream move to Arsenal.

"I do support Arsenal," Cousins told Standard Sport.

"Obviously the Premier League is my long-term dream but the short-term is about keeping Charlton in the Championship. I've got two more years on my contract and I'm focused on that."

Charlton currently find themselves sitting 18th on the 24-team second tier table, just two points above the drop zone, but the continually assured performances of the England youth international could yet keep the south east London outfit afloat in the second division.

Diego Poyet - Charlton AthleticMidfielder

The 19-year old Spanish-born Uruguayan/English midfielder certainly provides an interesting story when considering his possible national career.

Diego Poyet is the son of former Chelsea, Tottenham and Real Zaragoza forward Gus, who currently manages Sunderland, and represented Uruguay at international level.

Poyet junior was born in Zaragoza in 1995 when his father was devastating La Liga defences and now finds himself controlling the centre of midfield for Charlton in England's Championship.

He is eligible to play for Uruguay, England and Spain with the Three Lions at this point ahead in the race due to his upbringing in the UK.

Diego has already played for England at both U16 and U17 levels and has made 20 appearances for the Addicks since debuting in the FA Cup in January.

His late-season performances have alerted a number of clubs around Europe, including Barcelona and Arsenal, but Charlton boss Jose Riga is confident the supremely talented youngster will soon pledge his future to the south east Londoners.

"We have our eyes very open on this," said Riga last month.

"I'm sure the environment and family of Charlton will always make sure he receives good advice. He feels good here and with the way we are trying to play, he is happy."

Will Hughes - Derby CountyMidfielder

England U21 international Will Hughes is the next big thing in English football.

The 19-year old midfielder has been a Derby County regular over the past two seasons and has even drawn comparisons with Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard.

Hughes has been heavily linked with Liverpool in the past with suggestions that he could be making his way to Anfield this summer.

Regardless of that proposed move or not, the Surrey-born central midfielder - who has already racked up over 80 appearances for the Rams - has a bright future ahead of him.

Hughes took out the 2013/14 Football League Young Player of the Year award for his consistency in Derby's engine room which has seen the Rams go to third position on the Championship table ahead of a definite promotion playoff campaign.

Hughes, who only turned 19 earlier this month, could quite possibly be involved in the Premier League with Derby next season but if the Rams opt to sell, he will be calling Anfield and England's top flight his home for the next decade or so.

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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