There is no longer any middle ground on Fernando Forestieri, in this column’s submission.
Except for the difference he might or might not make to Sheffield Wednesday’s fading promotion prospects.
You either have to play him or sell him. Ideally anyway.
Whether either is possible in January depends on the timing of Forestieri’s comeback from a lengthy absence.
One thing is abundantly clear. Wednesday are desperately devoid of inspiration without him.
Forestieri could return early in the New Year, says Carlos Carvalhal.
The earlier the better. And that comes from someone who argued last summer that the Owls should consider selling the mercurial forward, feeling they had enough attacking potency to find a winning formula without him.
I still feel that should be the case but freely admit I am being proved consistently wrong.
As for the sale argument, I’ll qualify that.
If it had funded buying a speedy attacker or two it may have been of considerable benefit.
As such, it could remain a logical consideration in January.
Fact one, Wednesday have little room to manoeuvre under Financial Fair Play and Forestieri, up to his injury, was a saleable asset.
Fact two, the side has been screaming out for an injection of pace for far too long.
Then again, lack of creativity has become just as pressing an issue and, whether he’s scoring or not, Fernando can conjure goals, of that there is no doubt.
Never mind the apparent impasse over his suitability for either a wide left or striker role.
What about a switch to 3-4-1-2 with Forestieri darting in behind the strikers? Surely a better offensive option than the current tired 4-4-2 ?
You simply have to look to play him and, while no player is bigger than a team or club (as admirably demonstrated by the chairman), find a way to accommodate a proven match winner.
Easier said than done after various off-field issues that have curtailed the former Watford forward finding the form of his opening season and led to some pundits questioning whether the little man’s presence compromises team spirit.
You also need to play him even if there is a sub-plot to sell.
Forestieri’s value will have been diminished by his absence and will not currently reach the rumoured £12m bids of last summer.
Failing an impact from Forestieri – a comeback can be a gradual process involving being a substitute on occasions – the one thing in nobody’s interests is a state of limbo.
If it doesn’t look like working out then maybe you just have to bite the bullet and sell to the highest bidder, take what you can get and not hold onto the player just because you feel the money falls a bit short.
Take the cash and use it on the area of most glaring need.
But there is nothing simple here because it would be asking a lot for Forestieri to hit the ground running, January window or not.
As for the present, Carvalhal, for all the validity of the criticism, is arguably partly a victim of familiarity breeding contempt at a time when a three-season reign is an extreme rarity.
But, with commendable backing from owner Dejphon Chansiri, it is not too late for him to help himself.
Wouldn’t some sort of formation change be a start? In more ways than one.