SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Portugal summit laid foundations for Antonio deal

Fans favourite: Owls suppporters chanted Antonio's name in Portugal
Fans favourite: Owls suppporters chanted Antonio's name in Portugal
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The last time any Sheffield Wednesday fans saw Michail Antonio in action, he was playing against the Owls not for them!

It was a significant time too because it was just a few weeks ago in Portugal that Wednesday’s move for the flying winger at Reading took decisive steps forward.

Further detailed talks between between the clubs were set up under the Portuguese sun and a deal more or less agreed as they looked to sort out a fee - with Wednesday knowing they would have to go deep into six figures.

Many clubs are reluctant to talk figures these days but reports indicated Reading turned down a bid of around £700,000 from the Owls.

Wednesday officials, including chairman Milan Mandaric, returned from Portugal not actually having landed their man. But Wednesday have had him in their sights since last season, further talks were planned and they were determined.

All along the player had been left under no illusions that Wednesday wanted him. He certainly knew the fans did - they let him know in no uncertain terms.

Owls fans turned up in Portugal to follow their favourites and chanted Antonio’s name, urging the club to sign him. He even responded with a wave when they asked him to. The sentiments had been extended from last season!

To feel so wanted is powerfully persuasive and, during the latter stages of last season as he helped the side to promotion, the player had been aware of his popularity with the blue and white hordes.

So, it was with some irony that he should turn out against the club striving to sign him when he played for Reading, going on for the second half, in their pre-season game in Portugal. Tomorrow, he turns out for the Owls at Kilmarnock.

He made 14 appearances at the end of last season for Wednesday on loan, scoring five times including in the promotion clinching last game against Wycombe.

Ex-Owls and Millers striker Richie Barker, in charge at Bury, is a strong candidate for the manager’s job at Crawley.