A club will always hail a signing. You can’t top the verdict of a neutral outsider.
“A top class Championship player. Rarely injured and a totally solid citizen who covers 13-14 kilometres every game, working his nuts off both ways.”
The player is George Boyd. The words belong to respected and experienced talent-spotter Stuart White, until recently a UK and international scout for Burnley, from where the 31-year-old midfielder became Sheffield Wednesday’s first summer signing.
Of course, we all know the first bit.
Yes, a high quality flank operator/creator who has won promotions from the Championship for both Hull and the Clarets and who, tellingly, was offered a 12 month deal to stay at Premier League Turf Moor but elected to take two years at Hillsborough.
It’s the second part of the ringing endorsement above that should not be taken for granted.
Not all the most talented players are the hardest workers and, while giving 100% should be a bare minimum, Boyd is coming to play in a city that appreciates honest toil more than most.
White’s tweeted message to me put his finger right on that – and perhaps not surprisingly coming from a scout who worked at West Brom for former Owls player and boss Gary Megson, a manager as demanding as they come.
Boyd has the vision and skills to unlock tight games, of which there are many in the Championship, but that’s not the only reason why he will fit into what has been an impressive team ethic across the two years of Carlos Carvalhal’s reign.
It’s not a judgment against an outstanding player that his arrival doesn’t resolve an apparent need for more pace in the side.
Maybe that’s one of the “surgical points” Carvalhal refers to on the strengthening front. And if there’s truth in reported loan interest in Oliver Burke, the ex Nottingham Forest prodigy now at RB Leipzig, then he’d obviously be a great signing for that reason. Or someone like him, at least.
The Owls have rightly prioritised experience – like the much-linked Robert Snodgrass (some signing that would be), Aston Villa full back Alan Hutton and several centre backs - but a bit of youthful zip wouldn’t go amiss in my view.
Speculation on moves out of Hillsborough has been greater than might have been imagined, despite Wednesday having very marketable players.
If Burnley actually bid for Tom Lees then you’d think it could only be because they feel the player would entertain it, even if his club initially won’t.
Wednesday have been virtually a non-selling club under Dejphon Chansiri.
While he clearly has the personal wealth to continue in this vein, the extent to which Financial Fair Play might dictate a balancing exercise cannot be overlooked.
As previously mentioned here, I wouldn’t rule out a high profile departure if the money’s right. Main thing: Wednesday, with Chansiri hands-on up front and Carvalhal steering, remain in the driving seat.