Julian Börner's Sheffield Wednesday exit the smart move for all involved - but increases need for transfer activity
“He plays for Wednesday..” sang the Sheffield Wednesday faithful in Julian Börner’s hugely impressive opening weeks in England. Well no more.
The German defender appears to have finally completed a deal to return to his homeland to join 2.Bundesliga side Hannover 96 for a six-figure sum, according to Yorkshire Live.
He was left out of the Owls’ preseason trip to West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday afternoon, prompting suspicions a confirmed exit was close.
Indeed Hannover manager Jan Zimmermann was quoted in the German media saying: “The player would very, very much like to come to us and we would like to have him very, very much. But it's neither in his nor in our hands.”
The Star understands that Börner was one of the players to have opened a claim against the club for the late payment of wages, which could have in theory seen him leave the club for nothing as per FIFA rules.
That legal issue was quashed by Wednesday when the club paid their players what was owed in full last month, however, and though confusion remained over a reported claim of breach of contract that Hannover appeared to be holding out for, the Owls held out in their search for a cash fee for a player whose contract was due to run out in 2022.
It brings an end to a difficult time in South Yorkshire for Börner, who became a cult hero for his early efforts in blue and white before suffering a downward spiral in form.
He has previously spoken about the difficulty he has faced personally, having been separated from his family back home in Germany by the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whatever the wranglings of the last few weeks between Hannover, Wednesday and Börner himself, the deal surely represents a satisfactory end for all three parties even if as suspected the fee is somewhere towards the lower end of a ‘six-figure’ sum than the upper.
A former club captain at his previous club, it was noticeable that the German did not seem to be playing ‘within himself’ at all in recent matches and while form may have alluded him in stages, he was a popular member of the camp.
It does raise the question of where Wednesday go in terms of their defensive numbers, however.
Darren Moore’s admission on Saturday that his squad was ‘nowhere near’ where he would like it to be in terms of transfer business this summer was frank and honest and while the additions of Dennis Adeniran, Olamide Shodipo and Jaden Brown have been commended, it is clear they have much to do heading into the season.
At the back Osaze Urhoghide is a player the club would have liked to keep, while Tom Lees leaves behind a great deal of experience. Chey Dunkley will hope to play much more of a central part in this season, as will Dominic Iorfa.
Sam Hutchinson was added in January and has impressed at centre-half, but the fact is that along with loanee Aden Flint and Joost van Aken, Börner’s exit will mean the club have seen five senior centre-halves leave since the start of the year. Liam Shaw covered there, too.
It will be one of a handful of areas Moore will hope to strengthen.