Making Fernando Forestieri the '˜main man' could be the key to a successful Sheffield Wednesday season: Alan Biggs Column

Football is unforgiving. It's only your better players that other clubs tend to want. And if you are overstocked then you have to take a hit.

Thursday, 5th July 2018, 1:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th July 2018, 1:55 pm
Fernando Forestieri scored on his return to the side after recovering from knee surgery
Fernando Forestieri scored on his return to the side after recovering from knee surgery

That’s a logical reading of Sheffield Wednesday’s position right now. But I think they are getting their response right in trying to ensure that “taking a hit” does not mean parting with one of those “better players.”

Keeping the core intact is the theme of this summer.

It might seem strange for this column to argue that way, having urged the opposite in the past.

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Last summer, after two promotion attempts, I felt the senior squad needed freshening even if it meant accepting an offer for Fernando Forestieri, who was rumoured to be the subject of £12m plus bids ahead of his fitness problems.

The Profit and Sustainability numbers were not quite so acute and there were hints that then head coach Carlos Carvalhal wished to shuffle the pack.

Now I feel the time for doing that is past - plus a rethink on Forestieri.

High maintenance, yes, difficult to keep on heat for an entire season, yes, but his comeback brilliance late last season suggested that, with clever handling, Wednesday really do have – in the view of ex boss Gary Megson – “the best player in the Championship.”

Maybe he’s the sort who needs to have his role mutually nailed down from the start (preferably perhaps in a deep-lying strike role which seems to offer the best balance) and told it’s his for the season providing he and the team make it work; in short, given “main man” type responsibility.

Overall, I think it’s more a time for keeping the status quo.

Last season’s run-in suggested Wednesday can be a force if that’s the case.

As for freshness, well, yes, there is an ageing element to an experienced squad but there is the new dimension of Jos Luhukay’s ideas, which he has the first real chance to implement.

Ideally, he will add – most likely through the loan market – the pace long needed, along with a centre back (Frederico Venancio?).

The difficulty is the overstocking and questionable recruitment which, in the absence of pruning, has left a surfeit of players to offload.

Here’s the bit about taking a hit.

Sometimes I think you have to accept as much as is on the table.

For instance, it seems unlikely any club will pay a £3m loan fee for Jordan Rhodes when the top whack for a full transfer might be only around £5m because of the diminished value of the Owls’ record £8m signing.

Mind you, it could be a clever tactic if the loan fee demand to Norwich persuaded some club to buy outright.

Other than Rhodes, the only top-notcher I’d consider a big offer for is a goalkeeper with three good ones on the books.

Time is the other major factor.

While it’s true every player has his price, to part with a big-hitter now would leave the Owls scrambling to reinvest before the window closes. Hopefully there are solutions outside of that.

Wednesday are still in a relatively strong position, thanks to an ambitious owner who, having been on a learning curve, appears as committed as at any time and with the best interests of the club at heart.