Alan Biggs at Large: Why I think moving on these Sheffield Wednesday stars might be a prudent move for the Owls
It's unusual. The first time in several summers that the talk around Sheffield Wednesday is more about who's going than who's coming. But football is about comings AND goings as the Owls play catch-up on freshening a squad that has needed a bit of both for some time.
It’s also of necessity now, creating some elbow room in every sense. And that could require some pragmatism on taking what you can get, rather than insisting on past valuations that have been eroded by the events of this season.
So who might Wednesday cash in on? Who might be moving on, one way or the other?
Two obvious names in category one. Keiren Westwood and Jordan Rhodes. But for very different reasons.
Westwood has been, and can be again after his injury issues, an outstanding goalkeeper; a brilliant signing by Stuart Gray. Trading him would have been unimaginable had not the club’s two young keepers, Joe Wildsmith and Cameron Dawson, stepped up so impressively.
A substantial offer for Westwood would bear consideration. Keepers are less marketable than outfield players and that is puzzling considering they have longer careers. This one can be regarded at around his peak at 33 and with plenty of years left.
A similar statement could be made for Rhodes at 28. There is no way you can write off the scorer of 197 career goals at such a relatively young age.
Except that, for whatever reason, it has not happened for him here and does not look like doing so. A move would appear to suit everyone, maybe also for psychological reasons.
Here Wednesday might have to bite the bullet. Clearly no-one is going to reimburse a club record outlay of Â£8 million or match Rhodes wages, conservatively estimated at Â£40,000 a week.
Even a loan is problematic bearing in mind the latter, though some compromise on this looks the likeliest route to repairing his confidence, reigniting his career and defraying some expense. A scoring run elsewhere would also regain some lost valuation.
Now to a couple of players of whom, frustratingly, all too little has been seen. Marco Matias is clearly a talented forward and Almen Abdi, on his form at Watford, a midfielder of some pedigree. Injuries have struck hard, leaving big question marks over their future. But neither is out of contract.
Of those who are, Ross Wallace, currently injured, is a tricky one. Overall, the 32 year old former Celtic, Sunderland, Preston and Burnley winger has been an excellent recruit across more than 100 games in his three years at the club. The one thing he lacks, for all his skill, is a turn of pace and that remains a high priority at Hillsborough.
Of those who’ve been less than impressive, David Jones has a year left on contract and a move may be on the cards for the occasional midfield anchorman. Steven Fletcher, meanwhile, has two years remaining on a lucrative four-year deal.
As with Rhodes, a loan would be difficult. Still capable of being a strong centre-forward when fit, which must be the hope.
Atdhe Nuhiu? Question mark sensationally and deservedly removed. The big turnaround here is that it’s not just about Wednesday wanting him; much-admired by other managers and is sure to have other suitors. And there’s Sam Winnall to add to the equation, a regular scorer at Derby after a loan swap for Adam Butterfield that has backfired badly on the Owls.
At the back, the likelihood of a fond farewell to Glenn Loovens, a terrific centre back and skipper now fighting the mileage clock. Daniel Pudil? New deal for me. It will be a busy close-season and, after three successive wins, a deserving chance for Jos Luhukay to put his stamp on things.