It has not been a busy summer of transfer activity at Sheffield Wednesday so far this summer as they will be looking to make it third time lucky under the management of Carlos Carvalhal next time out. They have finished in The Championship playoff places for two consecutive seasons but have agonisingly missed out on earning a place in The Premier League on both occasions.
The only signing Carvalhal has made this summer is George Boyd as the midfielder arrived at Hillsborough on a free transfer from Burnley. The 31-year-old has vast experience at this level and will be an astute addition to Sheffield’s squad without doubt.
There have been far more players leaving than arriving at the club this summer. The likes of Claude Dielna, Urgby Emanuelson, Silva Felipe Melo, Vincent Sasso, Jose Semedo and Modou Sougou have all left the club.
We take a look at five players who could play a vital part in the upcoming season for Wednesday in their quest to earn a spot in the top flight for the first time since the 1999/00 campaign.
The 32-year-old English goalkeeper has been a revelation at Hillsborough since joining the club from Sunderland in 2014. He has gone on to make 120 appearances for the Owls and establish himself as one of the club’s best players. During his time at the club so far he has been named as the club’s player of the year and has also featured in the Professional Footballers’ Association Team of the Year for the 2014/15 campaign.
Westwood has been linked with a move away this summer with newly relegated Middlesbrough said to be keen on bringing him to the Riverside. However, he has opted to remain with Wednesday and look to help guide the Owls to promotion next season.
The 27-year-old Scottish midfielder has played a huge part in Wednesday’s two playoff finishes in recent years. He is seen by many as the player who really makes the Owls tick and dictates play in majority of the games he plays in. He joined the club from Bolton Wanderers in 2015 and has gone on to make 78 appearances for the club and has scored three goals during this time.
It is the first club that Bannan has properly settled at, and this has been reflected in his performances. He is highly regarded by his manager and is likely to be a key part of his plans moving forward in the upcoming season.
The 31-year-old midfielder has arrived at Hillsborough as the club’s only signing so far this summer on a free transfer from Premier League side Burnley. However, his arrival suggests that the Owls might be following the ‘quality rather than quantity’ theory when it comes to their recruitment. Boyd will certainly add a significant amount of quality to their squad and arrives with an abundance of experience at this level.
He already knows what it takes to win promotion from The Championship, and he can pass on his experience to those who have now experienced playoff heartbreak for two years in a row. It is experienced heads such as Boyd who can make a difference in the big moments throughout a season.
The 27-year-old striker has experienced a lot of success at Hillsborough since joining Wednesday from Watford in 2015. He has made 68 appearances for the club since then and has found the back of the net 27 times. He has arguably established himself as one of the most talented strikers in the division. However, he was the player who missed the crucial penalty against Huddersfield Town in the play-off semi-finals in May as the Terriers earned a place at Wembley.
However, he is the sort of character who will be able to put this sort of disappointment behind him and really push on next season. He has been distracted by transfer speculation in the past but now seems entirely focused on trying to fire Wednesday back to the top flight of English football.
Another striker on Wednesday’s books who has not had as an enjoyable couple of years as Forestieri is 27-year-old Jordan Rhodes. The striker has now joined Wednesday permanently after joining the club on loan intending to a permanent deal from Middlesbrough in January. However, he did not have the best campaign last time out as he only found the back of the net three times in 18 appearances for the Owls.
He was also heavily criticised by many for failing to step up and take a spot kick in the shootout against Huddersfield in the playoffs. This was seen by many as hiding away from his responsibilities. However, he does still have the potential to be a lethal striker in this division and Carvalhal will be hoping he finds his goalscoring touch once again next season.