No single individual is Sheffield Wednesday’s focus right now at a time of collective responsibility to recover some consistency of performance. But so much of the future could revolve around one man.
Adam Reach. Just how good? How much is he worth? What happens in January?
£15-20m. That’s this column’s gauge of what constitutes a big offer. Anything less you’d hope would be a non-starter.
Is Reach worth it? On current prices, yes. Not only for showcasing a catalogue of truly spectacular goals, some on live TV, but because of the nature of them.
Crucially, Reach can hit the target from almost any distance - with either foot. Witness that sumptuous right foot volley against Middlesbrough after those luscious left-footers against Leeds and West Brom.
At 25, Reach is not the complete player yet. He can lack composure closer to goal. There are times running with the ball when the former Middlesbrough winger can look a little ungainly and momentarily out of control.
But you can’t buy his quality of goal on a regular basis. Well, maybe you can? Judging by the rise in fees for Championship talent, it would surely have to be £15m minimum for an asset on a long contract.
And you would imagine it won’t only be Wolves at the starting gate in the window.
Beside his ability, Reach is a committed team man with his best years ahead of him.
Worryingly, though, where would the Owls have been without him this season? Arguably he has been the difference between sporadically entertaining hopes of the play-offs or struggling deep in the bottom half.
Against that, he also represents the potential difference between Wednesday flattening their financial fair play issues and being restricted to loans.
Ideally, manager Jos Luhukay will draw up a contingency list of targets from whatever money is freed up should Reach go.
Some proven quality would be required, outside of the stated and laudable aim of prioritising youth. Could Wednesday keep the season alive without a Reach or, for that matter, a Barry Bannan or a Fernando Forestieri?
As for FFP, while the Owls have been seriously handicapped, some compensation has come in the promotion of young players and a belated recognition of the need to offload.
Although Luhukay was seemingly committed to youth regardless, fewer opportunities would have appeared if Wednesday had continued to recruit on past rates.
The transitional problem is not of his making which is why - apart from agreeing with criticism of his constant changes - I support him still. Who actually predicted promotion or top six this season?
No matter who followed Carlos Carvalhal - or who might follow Luhukay - they’d still be going through the same hoops.
Strikes me that Luhukay, with his contentious calls on senior players (he sees behind the scenes, we don’t), is putting the club’s long-term interests ahead of self-preservation, knowing some high earners will have to go.
Yes, Wednesday have been shapeless in the last three games and keep shipping too many goals. But people don’t pay to watch a clean sheet and I doubt there’d be much tolerance for that anyway.
That said, there is no doubting the need - ahead of the Bramall Lane derby - to reinvigorate the atmosphere with a positive performance and outcome against an in-form Norwich this weekend.