Dom Howson’s Sheffield Wednesday column: Why it was a mistake for the Owls to let Glenn Loovens go

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It has not taken Steve Bruce and his long-time coaching associates Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence long to identify the weak areas within Wednesday's squad.

Bruce, who will officially start the Owls job on February 1, has made defensive reinforcements one of his top priorities during this month's transfer window.

Former Sheffield Wednesday defender Glenn Loovens

Former Sheffield Wednesday defender Glenn Loovens

Extra cover and quality is required in all positions across the back line if Wednesday are to kick on.

It is easy to forget that three senior players departed Hillsborough last summer: Jack Hunt, Glenn Loovens and Frederico Venancio and none of them were replaced.

And no one should underestimate how big a loss particularly Loovens was on and off the pitch. He was held in high esteem by his teammates. His departure left a gaping hole in the dressing room.

Loovens is a good character to have around a football club. He is a consummate professional. A leader of men.

Not only do people admire Loovens as a person, but they respect his career achievements. His experience and presence was huge at Wednesday.

Yes, Loovens would be the first to admit he struggled with injury and form last season. It was a difficult year for him.

But perhaps the Owls were too hasty in showing Loovens the door. Hindsight, of course, is a wonderful thing, but Loovens could have helped Wednesday through this transitional period.

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Having waved goodbye to another big personality in Ross Wallace, I certainly don't think it would have done any harm to have retained Loovens' services for a further 12 months.

Wednesday are a club that still means an awful lot to Loovens. So much so that he has attended a number of Owls matches since leaving Hillsborough.

Loovens is a realistic man. Given his injury track record and the fact he is entering the twilight of his career, Loovens knows his days of playing every match are over (He has made 13 starts in all competitions for League One high-fiers Sunderland).

Had Loovens been offered fresh Owls terms, he would have probably accepted a role as a squad player. His family were settled in the area and he had started taking his coaching badges.

Some critics also believe that Tom Lees has not looked the same player without Loovens by his side. If Loovens had stayed, he could have taken some of the spotlight off Lees. Alas, we will now never know.

Yet it is encouraging that a new centre-half and full-backs feature on Bruce’s January wish-list. The statistics don't paint a pretty picture as Wednesday have the third worst defensive record in the league . Sweden international Alexander Milosevic, a free agent after seeing out his contract with AIK in his native homeland at the end of December, is reportedly a transfer target. Anyone who can come in and make a difference should be welcomed.