Sheffield Wednesday: Owls chief defends lack of signings
Time is running out for the Owls to strengthen their squad before the start of the new Championship season.
But there is no sense of panic from head coach Carlos Carvalhal.
Wednesday have made just one new signing this summer, recruiting experienced wide man George Boyd, pictured right, on a free transfer.
“We have not made too many signings so far because the market is very expensive and we have Financial Fair Play (FFP) to consider,” conceded Carvalhal.
Under FFP rules, second-tier clubs can lose up to £13m per season over a three-year period. Teams who breach the regulations face a transfer embargo.
Despite a hefty financial outlay and a sharp rise in the wage bill over the last two seasons, Wednesday have failed to secure promotion to the Premier League.
The Owls continue to comply with FFP guidelines and intend to keep it that way.
Carvalhal said: “There are teams who are doing crazy deals and don’t care about FFP.
“They are taking risks by breaking FFP to try and get promoted. But if they don’t get promoted, they will be with an embargo.
“That is not our way.
“We are under the rules of FFP and we can’t go over the limit.
“You want to improve quality and to do that you need good players but they cost a lot of money.
“It is very difficult and tough to bring in players.
“We are very happy to have brought in George Boyd. He was a free. If we had needed to pay a transfer fee for George, it is possible we would not have brought him in.”
It was a rather revealing comment by Carvalhal on Boyd which may alarm some Wednesdayites.
But The Star understands there is still money in the transfer kitty for Carvalhal to reshape his team.
It recently emerged Wednesday had a £3m bid for Cardiff City defender Sean Morrison turned down. The player has since committed his future to the Bluebirds.
“We have our targets and know exactly what we want,” said Carvalhal. “We are following the rules and the chairman is doing things in the correct way.”
He insists he is not under pressure to sell his prized assets to balance the books.
Carvalhal said: “If the chairman wants to sell, he will of course talk to me. But if he has an offer and doesn’t want to sell, he will probably not talk to me about that because it is not necessary.
“So far he has not talked to me about any offers for players.”
Much has been spoken of and written about Wednesday’s recruitment drive in the last two transfer windows. It has been far from perfect but no football club gets all their business spot on.
Carvalhal is just one of the pieces in the Hillsborough transfer jigsaw. He and his backroom staff are tasked with compiling a list of targets to submit to Chansiri and his global advisers.
Extensive background checks go into all transfer targets.
“We look at players all the time,” said Carvalhal. “We have three levels of observation.
“Some days we may analyse 30 players and that is no exaggeration.
“My video analysts look at the details of the player first. If the player passes through them, they will then go to our defensive coach Joao Mario Oliveira, for example. He will check on the player and if he says ‘this player is good’ it comes through to me. We organise it like that as I can’t see 50 players on my own every day.
“When the player comes to me, usually I don’t like to ask too many things. I want to see what the player is like with my own eyes.
“Nowadays, it is better to see the player live but we can watch clips and games all over the world. We can see a lot of games and check the movement of players.”
Wednesday thought they had made a breakthrough in their search for new blood on Friday.
“We were given the green light to sign the player but the player didn’t want to the play in the Championship,” revealed Carvalhal. “He plays for his national team and didn’t want to play in the Championship.”
Carvalhal is not involved in negotiations with agents. He leaves that to Chansiri, pictured right, and company.
A new centre-back remains at the top of Carvalhal’s priority list. Ideally he wants two after losing Vincent Sasso’s services.
The heart of the defence is an area where the Owls have lacked strength in depth for some time.
The trouble is quality defenders are hard to come by and are not cheap.
When asked if he wants to freshen up other positions in his side, Carvalhal said: “We have focused on centre-halves but, of course, all the time, our eyes are open to other options that can improve the team.
“We are not just looking at centre-halves. We are looking at other players.
“But again, in other positions, the good players are expensive.”
Wednesday, who continue to be heavily linked with Aston Villa right-back Alan Hutton, returned to Sheffield on Sunday afternoon after completing their six-day training camp in Portugal.
The Owls played three friendlies in the Algarve. Carvalhal rotated his squad and the team secured one victory and two draws to maintain their unbeaten pre-season record.
After two days off, Wednesday’s players will report back in for training today ahead of tomorrow night’s friendly with local rivals Doncaster Rovers.
Carvalhal expects League One newcomers Rovers to provide his Owls side with a stern test.
“It will be a different kind of game,” said Carvalhal. “With Doncaster, we will try to give tempo and rhythm to all the players.”