Sheffield Wednesday: The main attributes any new Owls recruits must possess

Ross Wallace
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Quality, not quantity, is the key for Sheffield Wednesday in the transfer market this summer.

It is fine margins between success and failure at this level, with the Owls missing out in the Championship play-offs in each of the last two campaigns.

Glenn Loovens and Ross Wallace

Glenn Loovens and Ross Wallace

Their improvement on and off the pitch highlights that the club are on the right lines.

Nobody should forget how far Wednesday have come since chairman Dejphon Chansiri arrived on the scene over two years ago.

But the Owls can ill-afford to stand still over the close-season. It is imperative they get their recruitment drive spot on if they are to mount a genuine top-two challenge.

No major revamp of the squad is needed. Things just need fine-tuning in one or two positions.

Wednesday brought in 13 players during the 2016/17 season, but is their first eleven stronger? Ten of the 11 players who started the second leg of their tie against Huddersfield Town lined up at Wembley 12 months ago.

“Players they have brought in have not been good enough,” said former Wednesday striker Gordon Watson.

Chansiri’s global advisors will be hard at work identifying potential recruits who can make the Owls better. Here are the attributes Wednesday should be prioritising over the coming months:

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Pace

Captain Glenn Loovensis a good organiser and has been a great servant for the club, but his lack of pace is occasionally exposed. The Owls are understood to be on the look-out for a new centre-half.

There is also a serious lack of speed in the wide areas. Ross Wallace has his qualities and proven a bargain on a free transfer, but the experienced Scot is not the quickest. He relies more on his trickery and quality on the ball.

For one reason or another, the loan signings of Callum McManaman and Will Buckley did not work out. It was the same the year before with Aiden McGeady.

Aside from Fernando Forestieri and Lucas Joao, who has struggled to make an impact, the Owls aren’t blessed with lots of pace up front either.

Watson said: “It needs freshening up with pace and brave individuals who want to go higher.”

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Physicality

Carlos Carvalhal’s men have shown they are capable of digging in and grinding out a result.

But Wednesday are not a big side and can be bullied. They failed to stifle Hull City’s powerhouse midfield in the Play-Off Final.

The middle of the park is small in stature, prompting Carvalhal to move Sam Hutchinson back into the centre last November. Hutchinson’s enthusiasm and aggression gives Wednesday a greater physical presence in the midfield engine room.

Nonetheless, an athletic, towering central midfielder who can control the tempo of a match should be near the top of their summer shopping list.

Mental strength

All eyes will be on the Owls next season. Expectations have soared and it is important Wednesday do their homework and bring in strong characters who can handle the pressure of playing at Hillsborough. It is one thing playing against the Owls, it is quite another to play for them. Not everyone consistently brings their A-game.

Players will come and go between now and the big kick-off, but Wednesday’s existing squad have to move on from their latest play-off heartache and retain the belief that 2018 will be their year.

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