THE Championship season finally ended on Sunday when Nottingham Forest confirmed their return to the Premier League after a 23-year absence.
They beat Huddersfield in the £200m Wembley final, condemning the Terriers to another season in the Second Division.
With the end of the season, many contracts also end.
And that means some of the shining stars of the 2021-22 championship campaign will become free agents in the next few weeks as their contracts expire on June 30.
SunSport rounds up the best XI worth millions of pounds but available for free this summer…
TW: Sam Johnstone (West Brom)
Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is valued at £10.8million – the highest of any free agent in the Championship – and is still regarded as one of England’s leading stoppers – he played for the Three Lions last autumn.
He had four seasons at West Brom and made 36 appearances this season despite competition from David Button, but is now ready for his next adventure as Crystal Palace, who are leading the race to see him despite ties with Tottenham, Manchester United and Rangers to win.
RB: Ryan Nyambe (Blackburn)
Ryan Nyambe is a 24-year-old right-back who has made 32 appearances for Blackburn this year.
But a summer of change at the club means the Namibia ace is available for free.
IV: Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn)
Nyambe’s fellow defender Darragh Lenihan follows Tony Mowbray out the exit door.
The two-time Ireland international joined Blackburn in 2011 and was promoted to club captain – there will be no shortage of interest, including from rivals Burnley.
IV: Alfie Mawson (Fulham)
Alongside Lenihan at the heart of defense is the team’s first man to be promoted this season: Fulham’s Alfie Mawson.
The former England Under-21 man, whose career has gone downhill since his first break, has played just 206 minutes in the league this season, most recently making a one-minute cameo on November 6.
LB: Lee Buchanan (Derby)
The 21-year-old left-back from Derbyshire joined the Rams academy in 2010 aged just nine.
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He has made 60 appearances for the first-team and has also broken into England’s youth line-up, but appears to have been a victim of Derby’s financial woes and relegation.
CM: Jean Michael Seri (Fulham)
Big things were expected when Jean Michael Seri joined for a club-record £25m in 2018 – but he struggled in the relegation season and was then loaned to Galatasaray and Bordeaux.
But he finally proved himself this season and was a popular starter for Marco Silva when the Cottagers won the league – but not enough for the west Londoners to offer him a new contract as 14 players were sacked.
CM: Andy Rinomhota (Reading)
The 25-year-old midfielder came through at Reading after joining the club aged 18.
Seven years, 139 appearances and four goals later, he will be looking for a new career once he passes his medical after his knee injury.
CM: Joe Rothwell (Blackburn)
The third Rovers player in the team is central midfielder Joe Rothwell, whose four years at Ewood Park are expected to come to an end.
The former Manchester United youngster is valued at around £3.15million and would certainly be a sensible option for many Championship clubs at the age of 27.
RW: Jed Wallace (Millwall)
Jed Wallace has proven himself as Mr. Reliable at the New Den for the past seven seasons but has not received a renewed contract.
Newly promoted Forest were delighted in February – but their attention may have changed now – while Besiktas and West Brom are also interested in the Millwall hero.
ST: Josh Koroma (Huddersfield)
Josh Koroma joined Huddersfield from Leyton Orient in 2019 but only scored four goals in 34 league games in 2021/22.
The 23-year-old was not included in the matchday’s squad for any of the three play-off games as Carlos Corberan’s side suffered heartbreak.
LW: Tom Lawrence (Derby)
Former Manchester United and Leicester winger Tom Lawrence has had the best period of his career with Derby, with 35 goals in 177 games and the armband on many occasions under Wayne Rooney.
Leeds, Southampton, Everton and Bournemouth could offer the 23-cap Wales international a return to the Premier League, while Celtic could look to lure him north of the border.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5452258/best-championship-free-transfers-tom-lawrence-sam-johnstone/ Championship Stars XI to steal on free transfers NEXT MONTH including Tom Lawrence and Sam Johnstone