Alan Biggs at Large: No striker but Sheffield Wednesday mean business

by Pete McKee
by Pete McKee
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Dejphon Chansiri is a new owner and, as a hands-on chairman, is learning very much on the job. Those in or around the game could tell him that decades of experience can sometimes not be enough, let alone weeks and months.

So this transfer window must have been less of a learning curve and more of a Grand Canyon-scale cliff for the Thai businessman. Ultimately, the one acquisition Sheffield Wednesday needed the most – a striker – is the one that has eluded them in an incredible 15-player signing spree. For now anyway, pending the loan window.

But, if his wisdom and tactics (including advice) can perhaps be questioned, you can’t doubt his commitment considering an expenditure of around £9m and an apparent willingness to double it, albeit the interest in Fulham’s Ross McCormack did not, I understand, stretch to the reported £10m bid.

It’s remarkable, amid such a feeding frenzy, that the main course was lacking. But sometimes you can forget what you’ve had. In the week leading up to the window closure Wednesday actually signed FOUR players, all rapidly gobbled up, digested and forgotten in the craving for more.

Okay, I’m guessing here that Owls fans would have forsaken a few – maybe the extra added midfielder in Barry Bannan for starters – for the sake of that one proven goal getter. I would have to agree with them on that.

But no chairman in the history of the club has made such a splash. Mistakes along the way are inevitable. And now comes the hard bit. A lot of talented individuals have been assembled but, on the evidence so far, Wednesday are a long way short of a team.

Step forward characters (of whom there are not enough in the game as a whole) such as Michael Turner, the seasoned centre half on loan from Norwich. “I think he’s exactly what the club needs,” former Owls defender Jon Newsome, once a £1.6m signing of similar mould, told me.

“Glenn Loovens has struggled with injury and Tom Lees is still developing at 24. At that age you still need that boss figure alongside you to calm you down and teach you the game. Michael brings that to the side.”

Newsome is also backing the Chansiri regime, even if cautiously. He added: “I don’t know whether I buy into the committee idea – time will tell on that – and you have to be sceptical looking at the history of foreign owners splashing money, sometimes unwisely. But I do buy into this new owner with the money being spent at the club.”

So many possibilities have hung tantalisingly in the air that it almost passed by unnoticed when Fernando Forestieri arrived from Watford for £3m on matchday last weekend. The big job now for Carlos Carvalhal is to make all – or most – of the parts add up to a whole.