Alan Biggs: Who could bring goals to Sheffield Wednesday's midfield?
And so it begins. Open season on transfer speculation. Shame not to join in. Besides, this page kicked one name into play last week with Sheffield Wednesday and Aaron Mooy in the same sentence.
It’s now a less likely proposition with Huddersfield promoted to the Premier League and in a position to compete for the on-loan Manchester City midfielder but it did come from a well-connected football source.
These whispers are picked up by journalists all over the place. They are not always right.
My logic was that I’d have been more surprised if Carlos Carvalhal was not interested in such a prime player for a position he appears keen to strengthen.
And so to the other type of chatter. Let’s call it “thinking aloud” as far as the rest of this column is concerned. Just a stab at it using the “good shout” test.
But there is also a plain fact underlying Wednesday seeking midfielders, both wide and central.
Not enough goals from midfield last season; only 17 between the 10 players used – with Kieran Lee and Ross Wallace (five apiece) accounting for most of them.
To have had Lee fit across the full season, rather than missing a large chunk, would have been very handy. But then so would a player the Owls pursued vigorously during the January window.
Barnsley wouldn’t budge over Conor Hourihane and he went to Aston Villa instead. There, he added only one further goal to his six at Oakwell.
Has Hourihane fitted at Villa? Is he unsettled, as some make out?
I’d suggest that, given the slightest encouragement, Carvalhal would be back in for this player, perhaps taking over his three-year deal at Villa Park and the transfer sum negotiated.
Especially if, as is strongly felt, Hourihane favoured a move to Hillsborough that was denied him amid the furore over ex-team mate Sam Winnall’s switch to S6 from Barnsley.
Hourihane’s 48 goals in six years since his breakthrough at Plymouth tells you he’s a regular scorer from midfield – beside his creative and set-piece prowess.
Finally – for now – Harry Maguire?
Expensive and in demand, Premier League options likely.
But one for the “you couldn’t not be interested” file as Wednesday look to strengthen at the back.
Oh, and this ex-Blade is a boyhood Owls fan, too. Which is pretty much the way a lot of rumours start. But hey, why not? Worth a kick-around.