A Swiss international, an intelligent, exciting goalscoring midfielder, Almen Abdi arrived in July 2016 as part of the wave of new faces brought in as Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri set sail for the Premier League.
But it didn’t work out.
Abdi’s name has become a shorthand term for the business carried out at Hillsborough in that period – when the going was good.
Two years on from his Hillsborough exit, at the end of a lucrative three-year contract he signed when he was fast approaching 30, Abdi has spoken out for the first time about his time in South Yorkshire.
And it seems he was no fan of Carlos Carvalhal. The feeling, he suggests, was mutual. The suggestion has always been that Abdi was not a signing of the Portuguese’s making.
“The coach didn’t help me very much because I’d play two games then the third, which I didn’t play well, so he’d drop me, then drop me again and after a while, you lose confidence,” he told The Athletic.
“I needed a manager who trusted me, who believed in me, who pushed me. He didn’t do that. He’s energetic, he’s enthusiastic. He’s a really good coach and he did well. But he didn’t trust me. He didn’t like me and I didn’t like him that much. So it was really hard mentally. I was asking myself why? What have I done?
“I was one of the best players at Watford in the Championship and Premier League for the whole season and played almost every game. And suddenly, I’m not good enough to play for Sheffield Wednesday with all due respect they had a great team but I wasn’t good enough.
“It continued. You get frustrated, you lose confidence. You don’t work as hard anymore. It was very, very disappointing. But if a manager doesn’t trust me, doesn’t let me play, then I can’t. It’s like life in general, you need this trust. You need someone to give you confidence and I didn’t get that at Sheffield Wednesday, so it didn’t work out so well.”
Once it was clear things were not going well at S6, the Swiss maintains he made every possible effort to move on.
But Wednesday were unable to find any buyer for the ageing midfielder, whose best days were clearly behind him. Abdi’s star has fallen too far.
“I asked to leave a few times, literally every six months,” he said. “I was asking to leave because I thought it’s not good for anyone.
“It’s not good for the club or the owner and especially not good for me because I wanted to play.
“I said, ‘Please, let me go on loan somewhere, what use am I to you just sitting on the bench? Or not even in the squad? Just let me go’. I thought maybe I could play some games and come back stronger but I had to stay to the end.”
Two years on, the club are weeks away from seeing the likes of Jordan Rhodes and Adam Reach follow Abdi, Fernando Forestieri and co out of the door for nothing.
It’s a period of transfer activity that has cost Sheffield Wednesday hugely.