GARY Megson and Wednesday fans could be looking enviously towards Charlton Athletic now that the Owls’ possible promotion rivals have already made nine summer signings - including former Hillsborough target Danny Green.
Although Megson wants to bring in his own influx of players, so far there have been only two new arrivals: Rob Jones and David Prutton.
Neil Mellor and Jose Semedo could head his list of targets, but the Mellor deal with Preston seems to have hit a hitch, and Semedo’s future remains unclear though he is available on a free transfer.
Leicester winger Lloyd Dyer and Forest left-back full back Julian Bennett are among his other targets.
But while the Owls’ efforts to sign players have yet to blossom fully, and Megson is “excited” about their chances of succeeding, Charlton boss Chris Powell is happy to have made a flying start.
Powell believes that his club’s signings demonstrate how realistic they are about challenging for promotion - after the Addicks finished 13th last season, two places and one point above the Owls.
The Addicks manager said: “I think it shows our intention as a club, and the owners have backed me in regards to what players I would like to see at this club.”
Green was signed from Dagenham and Redbridge for an undisclosed fee after the Daggers turned down a bid from the Owls. Megson also wanted Rochdale right-back Scott Wiseman but he signed for Barnsley in an undisclosed deal.
Green, who comes from Essex, was on on Charlton’s book as a schoolboy but was rejected by them.
He said: “It’s great to be back home. It’s a bit of a dream to come back and sign a professional contract with Charlton.”
Jermaine Johnson’s signing of a new contract is a boost for the Owls after they missed out on Green.
James O’Connor and Lewis Buxton have also agreed new deals.
But Megson’s squad is still currently smaller than it was at the end of last season, when Tommy Miller and Richard Hinds were released.
Since then, Paul Heffernan, Tommy Spurr, Darren Potter and, yesterday, Gary Teale, have departed.
The Owls will know that considerable strengthening is required if they are to justify their standing as one of the bookies’ favourites for promotion.
Milan Mandaric has said that he will back Megson in the market - and the exit of several players inevitably reduces pressure on the wage budget.
Megson told The Star: “Before I left to go on holiday, I was given a wage budget by the board, which I accepted.
“Players needed to be moved on, to enable us to move others in.
“Paul Aldridge [vice-chairman] has done a terrific job in helping to move players on.
“In terms of the wage bill, there’s leeway to bring in players we want.
“Unfortunately, a couple who were on my list have gone elsewhere. We have to look at who we can get in, and there are one or two about which I am really hopeful.”
Megson is known to be keen on Mellor and Semedo.
It is also obvious that Mellor would be receptive to a move from Preston - and reports that he is on £9,000 or £10,000 a week are now understood to be inflated estimates.
While last season’s 20-goal ace trains with the Lilywhites, the Owls too have resumed work.
Megson said: “Everybody had an individual fitness programme to follow during the summer; they all seem to have followed them and have come back in remarkably good nick, apart from one, in terms of his weight.”