Gary Hooper is “better than the Championship,” his former Celtic boss Neil Lennon has told this column.
Which serves as a reminder that however keen Sheffield Wednesday are to reach the Premier League, however ambitious their plans, they haven’t lost sight of value for money.
There is a certain irony in that considering the plight of Lennon’s current club Bolton Wanderers where the damage in terms of excess was done before his arrival.
It’s important that clubs like Wednesday, among so many desperate to escape the Championship, heed that lesson and also refreshing that many supporters have picked up on this point.
Yes, it is expensive for Wednesday to import a £30,000 a week player like Hooper, even from the fringe of a top flight squad, not to mention a fee of perhaps £3-4m with talks continuing between the parties as this went to press.
But Lennon clearly believes that not only is the striker worth it (following his six goals on loan including two against Bolton) but that the 27-year-old will prove of Premier League calibre if given another opportunity that the Owls, if they clinch the deal, aim to provide.
“I tried to get him to Bolton last year and finances dictated otherwise,” Lennon told me.
“I’d love to work with Gary again at some stage because he’s a wonderful player and I think he’s better than the Championship.
“He’s certainly the best striker I’ve worked with as a manager.”