Alan Biggs' Sheffield Wednesday Column: Why Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri might be 'heading in the right direction after steep learning curve' at Hillsborough
Clubs don’t have to buy their way into the Premier League. At Sheffield Wednesday that particular penny is dropping.
It is not through any lack of investment - far from it - that the Owls are now into their fifth promotion attempt of the current regime.
But cuter trading might just get them there if an excellent summer window is repeated in January. Certainly it will head them in the right direction.
And Lee Bullen has his hands firmly on the tiller after three wins in four. His job to lose. Maybe a decision will come in the international break, by when the Owls will have played six games and a window opens for action of one sort or another.
Ideally you want the best players an owner can afford, which has been, and continues to be, an awful lot of money.
Strange to say, it’s probably been too much on too many. Now the balance is tipping back and somewhere in the future there will be a happy medium.
Of course, only time will tell on the latest round of recruitment. But in the longer term Wednesday might just have been helped rather than hindered by the strictures of Profitability and Sustainability.
At face value, it was an outstanding summer window. Eight players were shifted, including one for the rarity of a substantial fee.
That fee, rising to £7m for Lucas João, completely eclipsed the cost of six signings with only one, Massimo Luongo, costing money up front.
Are Wednesday stronger as a result? You’d have to say so on the early evidence, certainly better balanced and with squad numbers down.
Proof that clever trading can bridge the financial gap and much credit here to chairman Dejphon Chansiri.
The question of him taking the right advice, and from where, will always be a source of debate. But former Wednesday skipper Jon Newsome, who keeps a close watch on his former club, believes the Thai businessman deserves better understanding.
Describing it as “virtually impossible” for an unacquainted foreign owner to hack through the transfer jungle straight away, Newsome told me: “How much football has he watched throughout his life? Probably very little at all.
“He comes into the game and it’s ‘this is what we’re going to do ... we’re going to throw a lot of money at this club and we’re going to get into the Premier League.’
“All of a sudden it’s not that simple. It’s not just about going out and buying.”
Two of last season’s promoted teams, Norwich and another one more locally based, certainly proved that - though it should not be forgotten that Carlos Carvalhal’s Wednesday came very close early in Chansiri’s reign.
“I think it’s been a really tough learning curve for him,” Newsome added. “But I do think he’s properly heading in the right direction.”
Newsome reckons Steve Bruce’s strengthening of the recruitment department will also have played a key part.
There is also a common thread in terms of improving athleticism. None of the summer six is older than 28 (the outstanding Julian Borner) and the average age is 25.
Bullen has this theory on Kadeem Harris, exceptional so far, and Jacob Murphy: “Twolads who are so talented but have maybe not had the confidence for a while. I think you can see it seeping back.
“We’re lucky to have them.”
I think the same is true of Bullen himself with his team topping the early-season table.