Owls clinch striker deal

Signed: O'Grady against Owls last term
Signed: O'Grady against Owls last term
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SHEFFIELD Wednesday last night landed Rochdale striker Chris O’Grady at the fourth attempt.

Dale revealed that they turned down three offers from the Owls before a deal was concluded and the player signed a three-year contract.

Neither club is revealing the fee. But Wednesday’s well-documented offer for the 25-year-old in July was thought to be around £200,000, and they are believed to be paying around £350,000 for the former Rotherham star.

Rochdale did not want to let him go but he turned down a new deal that would have kept him at Spotland for another two or three years and he would have been able to leave on a Bosman free next summer.

O’Grady was on the list of nine targets that Gary Megson handed to chairman Milan Mandaric in May.

A delighted Megson said last night: “There was competition for his signature from a Championship club and one of our League One rivals, both of whom are in the Yorkshire area.

“Chris has a big physique and strong stature and defenders do not relish playing against him. He has honesty and a desire to play at the highest level and hopefully he will achieve his ambitions at this club.”

Rochdale say they rejected the earlier offers because they were trying to keep the striker but his refusal to stay left them with no alternative but to try to reach agreement with Wednesday.

Chairman Chris Dunphy said: “We very much wanted to keep Chris, and not only did we push the boat out in terms of the offer made to him, we added an outboard motor.

“The offer from Sheffield Wednesday is an excellent one...we are sad to see Chris go and wish him the very best at his new club.”

O’Grady played as a sub against the Owls at Hillsborough last Saturday, having been left out of the starting line-up because he had only just recovered from a heel injury.

He has scored 31 goals for Dale in the last two seasons, and impressed Megson when he played in the Owls’ 2-1 defeat at Spotland in February.

O’Grady was bought by Rotherham for £65,000 from Leicester in 2007. He moved to Oldham 17 months later, and, after various loan moves, to Rochdale in 2009.