How Sheffield Wednesday let over £15m of signings slip through their fingers for nothing – and it could reach around £25m this year

Sheffield Wednesday’s outgoing transfer policy has been widely criticised, and Joost van Aken’s recent exit as a free agent sees him become the latest failed investment.

By Joe Crann
Monday, 17th May 2021, 4:30 pm

The Owls don’t have a good record when it comes to selling players under Dejphon Chansiri, with Lucas Joao and Jack Hunt the only two players who have left for an actual transfer fee in recent years, despite numerous offers that would have made big profits on certain individuals.

Players such as Fernando Forestieri and Adam Reach could have made the Owls a tidy sum when they were flying during their Wednesday careers, however Forestieri left for Udinese around a year ago and Reach is likely to be on his way come July 1st.

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With Reach and the expected departure of Jordan Rhodes there will be two more big-money signings walking out of the Hillsborough exit door for free, despite the fact that there were substantial fees paid for both of them.

As things stand, and while these figures have never been confirmed, the list of estimated fees paid out by Wednesday since the start of the 2016/17 season for players who have gone on to leave for free is as follows:

Fernando Forestieri (£3.5m, Watford), Gary Hooper (£3m, Norwich), Marco Matias (£2.5m, Nacional), Almen Abdi (£3m, Watford), Morgan Fox (£700,000, Charlton Athletic), Sam Winnall (£500,000, Barnsley), Joost van Aken (£3m, Heerenveen).

Fernando Forestieri could have made Sheffield Wednesday some big money, but was one of many that left for free. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Now, with Reach (£5m, Middlesbrough), Rhodes (£8m, Middlesbrough) and Joey Pelupessy (£400,000) all out of contract in the next couple of months, they look set to join the growing list of players who have been bought by the Owls only to move on and continue their careers elsewhere while adding to the club’s net loss.

There are other players such as Liam Shaw (on his way to Celtic for around £300,000 in compensation) and Osaze Urhoghide (out of contract in July) who may well have had a decent sell-on value if they were under contract, but the club looks set to miss out there too.

Of the remaining crop of players, Wednesday have just Dominic Iorfa (£200,000, Wolverhampton Wanderers), Massimo Luongo (£1m, Queens Park Rangers), Josh Windass (£500,000, Wigan Athletic) and Callum Paterson (£500,000, Cardiff City) for whom they paid transfer fees after changing their spending habits – but all of them could be coming up to the end of their contracts this time next year.

It’s a scenario that several are keen to see them avoid going forward, with former club captain, Glenn Loovens, being one critic of how they’ve ‘wasted some money’.

He told The Wednesday Week earlier this year, “I think probably Sheffield Wednesday have kept a few players too long, and some left at the end of their contracts.

“As a club it’s never good business to leave so many to go out of contract. It’s football, but it’s business as well.

"It needs to be viable to live as a club, and I think as a club they’ve wasted some money as well… It’s easy talking after something has happened, but as a club sometimes you need to sell your best players on to make money and invest in new players."

They can’t go on this way.

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